A Murder of Crows: What if season five sucks?

What happens when you strike up a conversation that is so potentially fraught with charged emotion and several layers’ worth of analysis? You need two websites to help each other wade through the minefield and reach a (more or less) coherent answer to the question at hand.

Thus, please welcome the good folks of Tower of the Hand, one of the premier fansites of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, who graciously accepted our invitation to drink, debate, and bar-fight over the singular importance of the rapidly-approaching season five. The first half of our discussion follows below; the second half is featured over at TOTH (so be sure to head on over there once you’re done mopping up the blood here!).

By our powers combined…


MNK

Marc N. Kleinhenz (Tower of the Hand/Watchers on the Wall):

Given that season five will finally mark the occasion when Game of Thrones catches up with the books, there are two questions that, I think, must be asked:

Will this be the make-or-break season of the show? If showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss can pull off adapting the tricky fourth and fifth books – as well as start to introduce more and more elements from the sixth – will it retroactively make everything that’s come before more justified or otherwise validated? And if they can’t, will it be the final nail in the coffin of the series’s quality?

Tyrion in season five

Furthermore, since it looks like season five will introduce the largest amount of original material yet, let me ask each of you: do you think this year will be a success or a failure in this regard?

Axe

Axechucker (Watchers on the Wall):

Saying “final nail” implies that there’s even a coffin, and that the show is in some way not a success. It’s a tremendous success. Certainly there are things we, as fans, wish they had done differently, but… that’s the same for Every Adaptation Ever. Compared to most book-to-screen adaptations, Game of Thrones easily ranks among the most faithful.

So it’s not a make-or-break season, as GOT has already surpassed most peoples’ wildest expectations – at least on a success level. The only way it could damage its own legacy would be by stinking up the joint so badly that HBO declines to finish the series. (Not completely impossible. See: Rome, Deadwood, etc.) But, honestly, HBO would have to fall into a black pit of retardation to not be on board with finishing the story, just from a moneymaking standpoint alone.

Deadwood

Not to reveal my inner Pollyanna, but I actually think it’s the perfect storm. People have criticized books four and five for being slow and going virtually nowhere, but I loved A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons for what they were: interesting place-setters for the endgame. George was able to show us a picture of the ravages of war, which I enjoyed a lot, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking much of it would be even half as interesting onscreen. There’s only so much excitement that could be gained by watching Jaime watch other people not hang Edmure. (Sorry for that spoiler! Edmure Tully is still not hanged! Don’t be shocked!)

If the producers’ goal is to simply keep the ball rolling, well, I can only say that the decision to combine much of AFFC and ADWD into one season is a good one. Yes, of course they’ve farted out the usual “We aim to make this next season the best season of Game of Thrones yet!” statement, which is producerspeak for Keep Watching Please, and is really just par for course. I don’t know that they actually believe it.

If they do? Good luck, lads. The source material’s not there. I’ll be utterly shocked if season five is better than four. But even if they turn out the worst season so far, it won’t mar what’s come before, nor will it prevent the final two seasons from telling George’s endgame. The show will differ, as it must, but I think the primary beats will be there. Really, the last two seasons actually depend on how good George’s writing is. Season five could be a massive stinking turd, and we will still get six and season, with a pretty good amount of faithfulness. I’m confident.

I mean, unless Jeyne Westerling pops up somewhere in The Winds of Winter carrying Baby King in the North. Then they’ve got a lot of ‘splaining to do.

SomethingLikeALawyer

SomethingLikeALawyer (Tower of the Hand):

I’d say that the show has likely made enough money and fame to greenlight their budget for the next few seasons, from an accounting standpoint. Besides which, the show and the characters have entered into the public consciousness. I mean, reaction shots for the Red Wedding made it on to Conan, and everywhere from Forbes to Slate, there are articles about the show.

People are interested, and, more importantly, people are invested. They need to see how the story is going to end, and what will end up happening to each character. There’s a morbid fascination as to which character will end up dead. There’s so many taboo impulses that get stroked from the show, so I’d say the followership is not in jeopardy.

In terms of quality, it’s hard to outdo some of the absolute bombs that the show’s original content has already done. I’ve been pretty critical of the original plots in the past, and from everything I’ve seen, I don’t see any reason for improvement in that regard. The writers will continue to make changes for the sake of the constraints of the show. The medium forces it. Sometimes, the writers do very well in incorporating their changes into the narrative (the throne only having less than 200 swords, for instance, segues very well into memetics). But I’m fairly sure we’ll see head-slapping original content, too, and the pattern is likely to hold that I won’t like the additions.

Stefan

Stefan (Tower of the Hand):

As other popular series on the same network (*cough*True Blood*cough*) show, you can produce a lot of stupid, stupid, stupid original content without driving the show out of business viewer-wise. Artistically, it’s another matter, of course. Therefore, in pure business terms, the next season won’t make or break anything; for the audience at large, it won’t change much, anyway. It’s only the book-nuts that will be affected in large strokes, especially since we’re entering heavy spoiler territory (which will become even more of an issue in 2016).

But, yes, there are legitimate worries about the artistic quality. I wouldn’t say that the original content is, by and large, bad or worse than the source material. There are scenes with original content that work absolutely great, and there are scenes with source material that don’t work at all. The question of whether or not a given scene works is not tied at all to the source material – it’s a question of good writing versus bad writing. Many agree that the whole plotline at the Wall, for example, was poorly handled in comparison to many of the others.

Snow!

It doesn’t really matter whether the material was original or not; some scenes from the book lacked much impact, and some original scenes had it, and vice versa. Therefore, I’m very confident that it doesn’t matter in which part of Westeros Jaime Lannister will spit out great dialogue – the great dialogue is the thing that is important.

Sue

Sue the Fury (Watchers on the Wall):

I agree that the show already is a success, and the previous seasons won’t be diminished even if the next season (and beyond) is less successful in terms of adaptation, reactions, or ratings. The triumphs (and mistakes) of the past seasons exist on their own terms, independent of the success of the future seasons.

I think the show has an incredible opportunity with adapting AFFC and ADWD. It was a mistake to break the saga up to begin with, and if they reintegrate the storylines with smart trimming, they could top Martin. I do like the fourth and fifth books, but there’s no denying that there are laggy sections, and that I hated not having important POV characters in both novels. If Benioff and Weiss rise to the challenge and restrain their self-indulgent urges, they just might pull it off. They don’t have perfect records when it comes to original content (Talisa makes me cringe), but no writer has a perfect record – not even Martin. I have high hopes for Game of Thrones this year.

Axe

Axechucker (Watchers on the Wall):

I know why they didn’t go the Jeyne Westerling route (an aged-up Jeyne would have been hated, seriously), but I really think they dropped the ball with regard to Talisa’s potential as a honeypot (™Bex). I don’t know if they were just trolling us, in general, or if they just chickened out, opting for a splashier finish, but it really could have been something. The only reason I give Talisa a pass in general is because it made the GOT Red Wedding that much… redder, and it really resonated with non-book readers. Like, we thought the RW couldn’t be worse than in the books? It was. And the public’s reaction made it the year’s water cooler moment…

It’s hard, as a television critic, to then go, “Yeah, well, but in the book…”

But would it have been even twistier had she been a Tywin plant? Hell, yeah.

Shylah

Shylah (Watchers on the Wall):

I definitely agree that the show is a success – I mean, one of my great uncles, who is in his 70s, likes to post comments in Dothraki on my Facebook status updates. So I think we’ve reached full media saturation here.

That being said, next season will definitely be a different sort of challenge for the show. Many of the biggest, most shocking moments from the books thus far have been depicted. (Not to say that there aren’t twists and turns in AFFC and ADWD, but, come on, very little can top the Red Wedding and Tywin taking a bolt to the gut!)

Tywin shot

Frankly, D&D have had it pretty easy so far. It’s pretty hard to mess up the suspense and terror of a murder wedding or to drop the ball on a trial featuring the audience’s favorite character, and then cap it off with said character killing his dad on the john. All of the events of the first three books lead up to these dramatic climaxes, and with the start of season five, D&D not only have the challenge of introducing new characters and plotlines, but they also need to keep up the tension – something which may be hard, considering that the contents of AFFC and ADWD are markedly more subtle, and I’m not convinced that Game of Thrones is great at subtle.

So, while I don’t think this season has the ability to “make or break” the series, I think it’s going to be a good way for viewers (especially those who are also book readers) to gauge how the producers will fare adapting material that is either (a) more nuanced and less easy to adapt for the screen or (b) unpublished. How they cut, what they add, and what they choose to “spice up” will by key indicators for where the show is heading while we take the turn into the home stretch.

For me, the biggest litmus test for the new season will be how the writers/producers handle Brienne and Pod’s storylines, which feature some of the most poignant examples of the effects of the war on Westeros, while also being some of the most “uneventful” chapters in the books. If they can capture the former while losing or changing the latter, I will definitely have an increased respect for the showrunners, for they will have done something with the material that even George himself struggled to do through these middle chapters of the series.

Be sure to check out the second half of the conversation over at Tower of the Hand, where the banter – and nitpicking – gets kicked up a notch (or two).

Previous Murders

The year in review

Casting the recastings in a new light

Westerosi immersion

The best – and worst – season of Game of Thrones

285 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. GREAT POST GUYS! I REALLY LIKED HOW EVERYONE GOT TO OFFER THEIR DIFFERING OPINIONS AND PERSPECTIVES AND BOY HOWDY DID THOSE SPARKS FLY A BIT THERE HUH?

      BUT HEY YOU KNOW WHAT ITS ALWAYS THE BEST WHEN WE CAN ALL GET ON THE SAME PAGE AND HAVE THAT KIND OF WARM EMBRACING AGREEITUDE THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY WE’RE ALL LOOKING FORWARD TO AN AMAZING SEASON 5 FROM HBO’S GAME OF THRONES!

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    2. Did “SomethingLikeALawyer’s” post get cut off at the end? It literally finished half sentence. May we have the rest of it, please?

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    3. Deadwood and Rome didn’t get canned because they “stink”, HBO killed Rome because of its big budget and little revenues (Rome wasn’t as marketable as GOT is, I mean, just look at the toys, videogames, t-shirts, Funko Pop, etc.).
      And Deadwood died because its creator (David Milch) dumped it to go to make John from Cincinnati.

      Anyway, no matter how much Season Five sucks, it’ll still suck less than A Dance with Dragons. I personally think it’ll be an awesome season.

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    4. Season 5 WILL probably suck, but probably not suck as much as the last couple of seasons of Dexter.

      that being said even though the last couple of seasons of LOST are weaker than the rest, I never thought LOST got “bad” because the character development in that show was really really good IMO.

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    5. “Frankly, D&D have had it pretty easy so far. It’s pretty hard to mess up the suspense and terror of a murder wedding or to drop the ball on a trial featuring the audience’s favorite character, and then cap it off with said character killing his dad on the john.”

      I disagree with this statement. Those moments had the resonance they did because they were able to have so many exceptional smaller scenes that led to them. It might be easy to depict the terror of a wedding, but it’s bloody hard to get people to care about the characters enough to evoke the emotions that the scene did, especially since there are about 50 prominent characters.

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    6. As someone who thought season 4 really sucked, I’m pretty zen and rather positively inclined about season 5. The Sand Snakes stuff will be cheesy as fuck though, just like in the books. 😛

      Are you feeling okay AngryGotFan? 😉

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    7. zambi76,

      I agree, I hated Season 4 too. but I think Arya’s storyline will be good in season 5 because its just such a fresh storyline and I don’t really see how they could fuck it up I guess.

      Cersei’s storyline in AFFC/ADWD is actually my favorite, but I fear that TV Cersei might just become unwatchable in Season 5 with how increasingly unlikable and paranoid she becomes.

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    8. i really still dont understand why they didnt bring in LS as a jaw-dropped twist ending to either Season 3 or Season 4. It STILL baffles me to this day.

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    9. RosanaZugey,

      It’s just the rest of the sentence. He used a less-than symbol which caused HTML to upchuck the rest of that portion. Fixed it. Oopsy. Live and learn. 🙂 No big deal.

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    10. Ser Matt the Sullen:
      i really still dont understand why they didnt bring in LS as a jaw-dropped twist ending to either Season 3 or Season 4. It STILL baffles me to this day.

      How is it so baffling? It’s a cheap twist at best. And does a disservice to the impact generated by the Red Wedding by bringing that particular character back.
      The less zombies the better, I say.

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    11. Eh, they need to hold back the “Rebirth” thingy for Jon, Ser Matt, I can see that.

      Aurane, in retrospect I’m of the opinion that it was a mistake to cut ASOS in two seasons but only ten episodes is a real problem. Cersei is so hilariously nuts in AFFC I’m not sure nicer!show!Cersei can pull that off, but then it was too much for many fans in the books too.

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    12. Season 5 could be in danger.

      Lets not forget about Asha and her magical escape from the Dreadfort last season. It shows you the show producers can f*** up.

      Also still no explanation about Gilly and her babe and why did they have so much screen time?
      Unless the kind ends up king of westeros i see no need for them since Mances son has been cut…

      zambi76:
      As someone who thought season 4 really sucked, I’m pretty zen and rather positively inclined about season 5. The Sand Snakes stuff will be cheesy as fuck though, just like in the books.

      I just watched the entire season 4 again and yes evrything seemed streched out.

      – takes 3 episodes for Jon to go to Crasters
      – Tyrions trial has to wait 6 episodes
      – Dany and Mereen is totaly boring
      – Brianne and Pod – boring
      – Arya and Hound – boring

      I did enjoy seeing SweetRobin again.

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    13. I thought Season 4 was terrific, had very few low points, and really shone as an example of tricky adaptation – the one exception being “That scene” from Breaker of Chains, which is a misstep on all levels. Season 5 may present fewer OMG moments than were built into the fourth season, but there are enough shockers, twists and amazing bits that should keep viewers interested and entertained that I think will really resonate. And the more they get into the political stuff – the issues that Dany, Cersei and Jon are dealing with – the better it will be, I think.

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    14. Greatjon of Slumber,

      Indeed, season 4 was the best season thus far. Did i hate some scenes? Absolutly (Fire balls and stabby skellies, i’m looking at you). However, it had such great moments and freaking Oberyn Martell!

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    15. Nothing that looks as good as GOT will ever fully suck. There will always be several storylines that are great and a couple that do suck, but not enough to taint the entire show, at least not for me.

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    16. Ser Matt the Sullen: i really still dont understand why they didnt bring in LS as a jaw-dropped twist ending to either Season 3 or Season 4. It STILL baffles me to this day.

      In addition to Morgoth‘s and zambi76‘s comments, the other huge problem is that it would have taken extensive reworking of the Crows/Dragons plots (and possibly altered the story) to make LS relevant in Season 5. GRRM himself probably screwed up there: he should have unveiled her at the end of Dragons (assuming that he’s actually going to do something with her in Winter).

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    17. Oh fgs. Wait until the season airs before making judgments. If it sucks, it sucks. But to say “if they don’t do this it will suck” is a bit on the premature side.

      I’d rather be excited about my favorite show returning than worrying about what they may or may use from the books.

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    18. Hoyti Von Totiy:
      If D&D cut:

      – Arya as much as possible
      – Brainne and Podrick
      – Gilly and her whelp
      – Dorne as much as possible

      The season will be good.

      I completely disagree. I admit, I have only read the first book, beginning the second. Maybe it is me being biased as Arya is my favourite character, but I am so looking forward to her story this season in Braavos. I couldn’t care about Gilly as much either (from a TV viewer perspective), the only time I liked her performance was when she lifted up a piece of frozen meat about to whack Sam. Dorne & The Sand Snakes are also a very big interest to me.

      From the trailer alone, it looks like Daenerys will not have a boring year, this year. Since Dany slayed Kraznys, with the help of Drogon, I think this is going to be her most active year. Tyrion & Varys on the run across the Narrow Sea will also be interesting. Ongoings in the North with the Boltons, Baratheons, Wildlings & The Wall should offer up a good interesting storm for Stark lovers since S1 (myself, thanks for a wonderful season 3 guys). As said, I have not read the books up to date so Arya’s journey with the Faceless Men in Braavos is a mystery to me but, I think it does have very good potential, as with the Sand Snakes.

      But then again, my allegiance to House Stark has probably left me biased in the sheer hope for SOME revenge.

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    19. Furthermore, since it looks like season five will introduce the largest amount of original material yet

      Too often I see people call adapted material (that is, something that was in the book that is done completely different on TV) original material (that is, something that was never in the book at all.) Most of what has differed between the books and TV has been adaptation, not innovation: they are cinematic legs that replace literary fins. This seems to be true for what we have coming up this year, too.

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    20. For ya’ll that “hated” season 4, why on earth watch a show you hate? I mean, you could find something that you’d actually enjoy, just saying.

      Um, because you have to watch something before you can have an opinion about it? I was mostly fine with season 1-3 and enjoying myself, but season 4 just doesn’t really sit well with me. Still going to watch season 5 (definitely enjoyed the trailer) and we’ll see how that goes, okay?

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    21. Season 4 to me was the most radically changed from the books and the second best season to date. I am looking forward to departing from GMs farting.

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    22. Morgoth: Well, Jon had more screen time than Hot Pie. I’m angry now. Grrr.

      Did you just write that … ? Seriously?

      Cathair: I completely disagree. I admit, I have only read the first book, beginning the second. Maybe it is me being biased as Arya is my favourite character

      I liked Arya in the books up to the point she left Kings landing and became an untouchable Mary Sue asassin.

      JustWannaBePure:
      Hoyti Von Totiy,

      Because Stannis was traveling for most of the season and had little material. He’s not really in the books all that much anyway.

      Problem is my friend the producers ended Season 3 in a way that you expected Stannis swimming to the Wall carrying Mel on his back.
      Instead we find him in season 4 siting on Dragonstone doing nothing and Davos has to point the obvious and speak to IB on behalf of Stanniss !!!!!!!!!??????????????????????????????????????????????????

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    23. Rygar: Deadwood was dumped for pure financial reasons.

      Also, Rome was dumped for financial reasons, too: it was too expensive to film in Italy, and the producers balked at doing it elsewhere. It was announced that Season 2 would be the last season before it even premiered.

      For what little it is worth, I thought that both shows were good in their second years.

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    24. Get over LS people.she brings nothing to the story anyone else can replace. Probably one of the reasons why GRRM is having a hard time wrapping up the books, trying to figure out what to do with that mute. Should she die again? Keep her alive at the end to give a toast to the new king?

      In D&D I trust to make it a great season.

      Remember people, show is show and book is book 😉

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    25. Rygar:
      Morgoth,

      Deadwood was dumped for pure financial reasons.Milch didn’t dump it for JFC.Milch fought for four seasons, as was the original intent.

      They did give him a chance to finish Deadwood. Granted, it was only six episodes and not a full season, but it would’ve been better than nothing. We got JFC instead.

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    26. Thanks for the discussion! I always enjoy hearing what our very own WotW staff has to say, and it was nice hearing some new voices join in from TotH!

      Imho Stefan and Sue nailed it. Feast and Dance are extremely difficult novels to adapt. I’m confident that enough thought has been put into it that I will enjoy the result along with the changes. It’s like watching a juggling act.

      I’ll also echo Stefan’s sentiment that the writing, the dialogue, is ultimately going to have a bigger impact on quality than mere location of characters. “Jaime’s supposed to be in the Riverlands” is not a great argument for story, especially in the show’s context. Whereas, “Jaime needs to encounter X problems, come to Y solutions and grow as a character in Z way” will make a difference.

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    27. Shylah hit the nail on the head for me. It’s the Brienne/Pod storyline that could make or break the season for me. Either a) they somewhat follow the book storyline and we get them with

      the Brotherhood (who were not even hinted at in the trailer unless they were amongst the 2 blips we saw of mysterious horseback riders in what seemed like the Riverlands) and a possible but improbable Lady Stoneheart.

      or b) they get a whole new storyline, which could be awesome.

      I feel like the trailer strongly hinted at Sansa Stoneheart, with Baelish’s “avenge them” and not one but TWO shots of the knights of the Vale. I could be on board with this.

      I feel like most of the lead characters stories (Arya, Dany, Tyrion, Cersei, Jon) are going to hew pretty closely to their book stories, albeit with characters subtracted or added or substituted. The lead character whose story seems like it will change the most from the books is Jamie, and I approve of the changes. Sansa and Brienne are the most unknown at this point, and it’s kind of exciting. I just have to go in to the season knowing that anything could happen and I won’t be too disappointed, I guess.

      pours out some Dornish wine for my fallen homies Arianne, Griff and Young Griff (and possibly those lovable Greyjoy a-holes) If I have to pour more out for Wyman Manderly, I’ll lose my shit. Anxiously awaiting season 6 casting announcements in about about 6 months….

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    28. King Stannis: Remember people, show is show and book is book

      Indeed, and that is one thing that this editorial omits. The key to whether Season 5 keeps the audience (and critics) happy is the common denominator between book and screen: the story! Personally, I think that the story that Crows/Dragons tells is one that will hook the audience, and it is of the sort that critics love. Everybody has been in a situation where they are trying to “kill the child/become the adult.” If the show does a good job of showing the internal struggles of the main characters as they step up to new challenges, then people are going to appreciate the show.

      (The fact that somebody even chose the song Heroes for the trailer suggests that he/she spotted that in the material that they were given: and that’s a good sign.)

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    29. Morgoth,

      Um…the series started with “zombies”, the wall and Bran storyline swirls around “zombies”, KL will have a “zombie” element, and the series will most likely end with a major “zombie” ramification. So, yes…”zombies” sort of matter in this tale.

      —-

      I don’t understand the continued, blah ADwD hate. Most of the major events and exciting stuff in S5 will come from the adapted ADwD source material. Much of AFfC seems to be discarded in the show adaptation so there is no use in droning on and on about it.

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    30. Hodor’s Bastard:
      Morgoth,

      Um…the series started with “zombies”, the wall and Bran storyline swirls around “zombies”, KL will have a “zombie” element, and the series will most likely end with a major “zombie” ramification. So, yes…”zombies” sort of matter in this tale.

      I don’t mean wights, white walkers and undead critters, but major characters coming back as zombies. It kind of cheapens death.

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    31. For my part, I’m fairly excited about this coming season. I’ve never taken as much issue with the show-only content that has been produced. Of course there have been some major stumbles, but overall nothing that D&D have done has lessened my enjoyment. And honestly? Some of the changes this season actively interest me more than the book version of them did. So put me in the cautiously optimistic pile, because seeing Nikolaj in Dornish robes will probably erase any complaints I have about the season.

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    32. Lion of Night: Whereas, “Jaime needs to encounter X problems, come to Y solutions and grow as a character in Z way” will make a difference.

      If there was already an arrow dead center of the target, then you would have split it with this shot. For what it is worth, I do hope that they keep some variation of the

      you aren’t Tywin II: Tyrion is Tywin II!

      ) In a lot of ways, that summarized the story as well as Aemon’s iconic

      kill the boy and become the man.

      But you are spot-on: the Riverlands was just a backdrop for setting up that line, and Dorne can be used just as well.

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    33. This article would have more bite if it wasn’t coming right after that insanely awesome Season 5 trailer. LOL

      But, then again, there’s a bunch of people here who thought that Season 4 sucked (LMAO) or even that the entire series has sucked. So I’m sure it’s not beyond reason that these same people will say as much about Season 5 no matter how incredible it is.

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    34. Morgoth: I don’t mean wights, white walkers and undead critters, but major characters coming back as zombies. It kind of cheapens death.

      True, it could. Alternatively, it could enhance it if being undead is shown to be a pretty horrible alternative. Regardless, we should* ALL stop fretting about this until we read Winter. Until we know whether this zombie becomes important in that tale, then we really have no argument as to whether the zombie should or should not be on the show eventually.

      *: offer not valid in most major fandoms.

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    35. Well I think those die hard book fans will hate the next season, just like they hated every season except the first maybe. I read the books and AFFC and ADWD are on my nightstand right now and I have been cross re-reading them over the last weeks to prepare myself mentally for season 5. Even though I found them boring in my first read because there was so much story and many new characters and I had lost myself in the many storylines, where literally not much happend but building up without a proper resolution at the end of Dance. But now I’ve actually come to enjoy them and I’m curious how they will be adapted into season 5 and how much new stuff we will see for certein characters.

      And for all the unsullied I think there will be many great moments and probably shocking ones too. I’m thinking

      Cercei’s walk, Daznak’s Pit, Ides of…

      I do also fear that we will lose a bunch of characters, those who die in the books most likely but there are several more that are doomed in my opinion and depending how far they push the story into TWOW, we could see quite a bloodbath in season 5.

      Characters I think we will and might lose next season

      Brienne/Pod, Jamie/Bronn, Myrcella, Pycelle, Kevan, Loras, Sweetrobin, Aemon, Mance, Shireen, Meryn Trant 🙂 , Grey Worm, Janos Slynt, J, and if they schow the two battles, probably more people of team Stannis and team Dany

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    36. Morgoth: They did give him a chance to finish Deadwood. Granted, it was only six episodes and not a full season, but it would’ve been better than nothing. We got JFC instead.

      That’s not what I heard. Then again Milch will do whatever he wants.

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    37. Rygar: That’s not what I heard.Then again Milch will do whatever he wants.

      Yeah, I suppose. My original post was mostly correcting the fact that HBO didn’t cancel Deadwood and Rome because they became “stinkers”.

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    38. Season 4 had less of the pacing issues of Season 3, less of the stumbly original material of Season 2, and was its own thing in contrast to Season 1’s very faithful adaptation. I think they’re just done the best they ever have, and Oberyn Martell’s arc was the most concise summation of GRRM’s idea that “right is not might” so far.

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    39. JustWannaBePure: We’ll be reserving judgement forever at this rate. Even if it has payoff it was cheap in the moment

      1) Mayhaps! 2) Yea and nay. Had said zombie comeback “good as new,” then I would agree with you. However, said zombie seemed to be in pretty awful condition: I got no sense that it was “good to be back.”

      What bothered me more than anything else is that it hung a huge gun on the wall, which promptly was not fired at all in the next story. GRRM should have kept the identity unconfirmed until the end of Dragons.

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    40. Wimsey: Until we know whether this zombie becomes important in that tale, then we really have no argument as to whether the zombie should or should not be on the show eventually.

      I maintain that the effect that “this zombie” and other major deadheads will provide will indeed matter. GRRM has constructed a world in which folks are revived after death, folks can thwart death and live very long lives if connected to trees (or have R’hllor’s help), folks can be undead and do much damage, folks can thrive off the undead, folks that are thought to be dead are really not, and the spirits of many dead folks live on and on…..so what is the big deal? More undead ramifications the better! 🙂

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    41. I’ll say something that is going to be unpopular with massive show fans. I think Benioff and Weiss stink. I do. I think you began to see cracks last season when they started making stuff up. The Asha storyline for example. The Bran/Jon/Craster’s story as another. Was the Jon led fight at Craster’s entertaining? Yes it was. But it was filled with plotholes. For example how did the Mutineers manage to get Ghost in a cage? And why? Why didn’t they just kill him? And why did they keep feeding him when he was in the cage? What was their purpose in keeping alive Jon Snow’s direwolf and using whatever limited food they had for themselves to feed him?

      Another is the Jon/Karl fight. One of the hallmarks of poor writing (in my opinion) is the hero is in trouble and near death and then from the blue, from the random hiding spot someone comes in to save him, and oh it just so happens the villain forgets the hero is laying there and winds up dead because of it. Which is what happened in the Jon/Karl fight.

      And “the biggest fire the North has ever seen” shouldn’t that cause a massive uncontrollable forest fire? And how was the fire burned out by the next morning when Jon arrived at their camp? And by the way how were the Wildlings able to have a camp in the middle of the forest when they burned it down the previous night?

      Am I nit-picking? Yes I am. But here is my point. None of those were written by Martin. And they weren’t because they are filled with plot holes. This is what scares me in regards to the future of this show. There are noticeable plot holes in what David and Dan make up themselves. And we’re nearing a stage where all 10 hours will need to be made up by them.

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    42. Arya is my favorite character, so as a book reader I’m very excited about her storyline in Braavos. I’m very interested to see how the show adapts her material to show her growth.

      That said, I’m not overly concerned about the show’s changes upon the success of the series. I expect that within 2 weeks of the season 5 premiere, the powers that be at HBO will renew Game of Thrones for a 7th and final season.

      As a book reader, I’m irritated at even minor deviations from the books, e.g. “Your sister,” instead of “Only Cat.” No mention of Tysha! However, the unsullied don’t know what they’re missing. They might enjoy a larger presence for the Sand Snakes, and not be seething with nerd rage that Arianne Martell isn’t the heir to Dorne in the show. They don’t sulk about the absence of Strong Belwas, or resent the other changes from the text, because they have yet to read the books. (Seriously, read the books, people. Become spoiler proof!)

      I hope The Winds of Winter sees publication prior to season 6, but if not, season 6 will be edge of our seats viewing, because book readers and unsullied alike won’t know what will happen next. We’ll know even less in season 7…

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    43. mpd:
      I’ll say something that is definitely going to be unpopular with massive show fans. I think Benioff and Weiss stink. I do. I think you began to see cracks last season when they started making stuff up. The Asha storyline for example. The Bran/Jon/Craster’s story as another. Was the Jon led fight at Craster’s entertaining? Yes it was. But it was also filled with plotholes.

      Well the bigest hole was why didnt Locke kill Bran and his party straight off … what did he try to do kidnapp him?

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    44. mpd,

      Right. So if a writer makes mistakes or writes something bad he’s terrible? Even the best shows have bad episodes and storylines. Not to mention that this post ignores that adapting material takes considerable skill.

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    45. Nice ‘murder’. Good discussions overall, with mostly nice arguments, on a very tricky topic. The one thing which didn’t really work for me was the focus on the Talisa theories, personally I found the honeypot thing a bit preposterous after D&D made clear they were going in a different way with this character.

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    46. Oberyn Martell’s arc was the most concise summation of GRRM’s idea that “right is not might” so far.

      The show Oberyn stuff is one of the few things where I 100% prefer the show over the books (never understood how that book asshole was so popular), so yeah, season 4 has that going for it, which is nice.

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    47. mpd:
      And “the biggest fire the North has ever seen” shouldn’t that cause a massive uncontrollable forest fire? And how was the fire burned out by the next morning when Jon arrived at their camp? And by the way how were the Wildlings able to have a camp in the middle of the forest when they burned it down the previous night?

      I remember some great online discussions after that statement by Mance was made in S3. Many thought that the fire would affect the Wall in some way (firing oil via giant trebuchets and firing it up, infiltration at the top of the wall, etc). But destroying their resources….? A bit of a dangerous and illogical strategy….

      ….BUT the shot really came across well in IMAX. 🙂 We must suspend our disbelief!

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    48. All these speculations center around book readers , I would venture 90+% of the ~20 million viewers are not.
      As long as the show is engaging its going to be ok.
      So far GRRM has built a kind of Icy Showdown with a Frozen Sauron without Sauron or the Lord of the Rings narrative.
      How this plays out is a big question in my mind.

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    49. I agree that AFFC and ADWD are good despite fewer plot twists and less action but that much of it would make poor television. Brienne and Jaime both have a lot of travelogue stuff that isn’t very adaptable.

      I’m slightly concerned about Jaime in Dorne but keeping an open mind. It could work well. Firstly because of Bronn’s presence.

      Secondly, because it will fast track the inevitable conflict between the Lannisters and Martells.
      Two important character developments need to happen IMO.

      He must realize that his relationship with Cersei is toxic and refuse to try and rescue her.

      He must realize that he is intelligent and competent enough to solve problems with his brain rather than his sword.

      I’m actually worried that his death is imminent in TWOW. It kind of seems like his character development is complete and there isn’t much left for him to do. I’m wondering if he’s going to be killed off this season. Hopefully I’m very wrong about this.

      The only major worry I have about season 5 is the lack of Manderley. Hopefully he’ll turn up in season 6.

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    50. If season 5 sucks, then you guys will be enduring a lot of me complaining about Arianne’s exclusion. Well, a lot more then you are already are guaranteed too.

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    51. Hodor’s Bastard: I maintain that the effect that “this zombie” and other major deadheads will provide will indeed matter.

      I am inclined to agree with you. Or I should write that I am making the same prediction as you. However, if so, then it will first be true for Season 6. That, in turn, means that the zombie should be introduced for Season 6: either at the outset or at the tail end of this year. I could still see them doing some “mystery” thing where the character is veiled until identified.

      Moreover, we might be wrong: GRRM might have changed his mind after all of these years. (I strongly suspect that his intentions in 2000 were different than they now are, simply because the zombie was such a non-factor in Crows & Dragons.)

      But that just takes us back to my point above: the only thing that we know now is that it was too soon to bring the zombie back before the end of this year unless they were going to heavily revise the plots: and that might have risked damaging the story. (It certainly would have cluttered things!)

      Maester of Ceremonies: “Your sister,” instead of “Only Cat.” No mention of Tysha! However, the unsullied don’t know what they’re missing.

      In both cases, too many the Unsullied would not have known what they were hearing. Tysha never was on the show: and on TV, the character is the face of the actor/actress playing the role. “Cat” had not been used for Sansa’s mother in a while: I think that Blackfish used it once in the middle of Season 3, and that was the last time. In contrast, the book used “Cat” in direct reference to Sansa’s mother several times in that chapter. These are fins vs. legs and gills vs. lungs differences: what works on page often is detrimental on screen and vice-versa.

      Roger Kevin Dering: If season 5 sucks, then you guys will be enduring a lot of me complaining about Arianne’s exclusion.

      To which we might well reply “It would have sucked more with her in it!” IF this season is bad, then it is more probable that it will be bad because it adapted too little, not because it adapted too much. GRRM’s narrative here was unwieldy, to put it kindly!

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    52. Now that I made a post about what concerns me, I’d like to make one about the things I anticipate will be great.

      The Tyrion and Dany chapters both lagged for me. It looks like the show is speeding things up and adding more action. That’s a good thing.

      It’s also good that

      we’re getting Hardhome.

      It worked having it off page in the books but for television, we need to see it. I personally loved Jon’s ADWD chapters but many found them too lacking in action so adding in some fighting will be great.

      The thing I’m most excited for is Sansa. I don’t mind the slow burn character development in the books but fast tracking it is a wise choice for the show. Here’s hoping we get some spoilers.

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    53. First of all, I loved the article, especially incorporating the views of those from Tower of the Hand, as I am less familiar with their viewpoints on things, and enjoyed the interplay and exchange of ideas/opinions. Thanks.

      I think, like previous seasons, Season 5 will have its share of, “wow, that was incredible,” along with the inevitable, “um, why the hell did they do that?” Overall, however, I think it will be a great season.

      I think I have a bit of a different perspective on the adaptation aspect, as I’ve done a decent amount of adapting scripts, myself. I’ve had the advantage of beginning with material that was already in script form, as opposed to adapting from novels, but it does give a certain insight. I know what it is to have to cut certain parts of a story, what it is to have to cut certain characters, and how, when one loves the story and characters, it is incredibly difficult to let certain things go. However, just because I love a character, or a particular element, it doesn’t mean it’s best for the overall story, at least within the parameters of the adaptation.

      Looking at the task of adapting both AFFC and ADWD, I’m imagining the work that goes into even getting started, before the really tough decisions are made. They have to splice the events of both books together into the time-line, look at where things were left and where they need to go, then figure out the best path to get there. Inevitably, characters and certain aspects of particular story-lines need to go. Of course, there are always pieces which need to be included, but if the characters involved, or that part of the story line have been cut, those pieces need to be reassigned to other characters, and it still has to, somehow, work. This is just scratching the surface.

      It may be easier to evaluate certain decisions when dealing with the parts of the story which have already been published, but as we already know, this season will be going into some material which has not been published. Thus, it will be difficult to know the why’s of certain decisions. D&D have the advantage of knowing where the story goes. The viewer does not. There are decisions which will perplex us, but we will not know whether they “work,” at least in terms of the books, until the subsequent stories are published. I, for one, am fascinated by that prospect.

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    54. I saw Seasons 1&2 before I read the books and loved LOVED them!!

      Then I had to inhale the books and the books gave me more depth and detail that was enhanced by my surface knowledge from the show.

      After reading the books I watched the show and found my enjoyment somewhat diminished by “waiting” for favorite book scenes.

      Interestingly enough it was sometimes the made up content that captured my interest the most (not in all cases but many). I am actually kind of excited to move out of book territory into something new. Then reading the books will be a bonus.

      I disagree that LSH is irrelevant. I got a huge gut punch the moment I understood the root of vengeance. I wanted it after the RW, we all did. I cheered when LSH showed up but those cheers turned to horror when I realized the result of the desire for revenge. It was heartbreaking and a core message in the saga.

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    55. Food for thought. If the Red Wedding was shown on television before the book was released…. a lot of book fans would have complained about it and said it ruined the story.

      Something about the books coming out first warps perception.

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    56. WeirwoodTreeHugger: I don’t mind the slow burn character development in the books but fast tracking it is a wise choice for the show.

      Indeed, I am really curious to see how the “stupid duckling” arc works for the audience. This has the potential to offer some wonderful irony: for years, people have criticized Sansa for being an “sexist” character. However, instead of writing the “thinking girls can turn out to be pretty girls in the end” ugly duckling tale (think Arya or Hermione Granger), Martin seems to be giving us the “pretty girls can turn out to be thinking girls” character arc. That actually is much more anti-sexist than the ugly duckling arc! (A real problem for smart, good-looking women is the ingrained belief that pretty girls are dumb girls.)

      The trick is, will they be able to convince the audience of this? If they can, then that will really be a plus for this season.

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    57. Wimsey,

      Which is one reason why the prospect of Dorne has been really intriguing to me. I’m excited to see how the puzzle pieces fit together!

      Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Yes yes yes! Can I just bump this? It’s easy to pass judgement about how things “should” have been done, but understanding the amount of actual work that the whole process takes sheds much needed light on everything.

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    58. The Bastard: a lot of book fans would have complained about it and said it ruined the story.

      A lot of fans DID complain vociferously that the RW (and the PW) ruined the books! Indeed, a whole chunk of the fandom (that I remember as the “Robbettes” although I don’t remember if we called them that) basically left OR spent the rest of the time bitterly complaining about how awful a writer (and human being or even piece of offal) GRRM was.

      Keep in mind that these were people who thought that the series would end with Robb (who they thought was the “hero) decapitating Joffery with the last words of “he who passes the sentence should carry out the sentence” and then marry Daeny. (That is why they hated the PW, too: they wanted Joffery to feel that sentence had been passed on him, as well as to learn what he really was before he died.)

      That basically killed the “Is Robb Stark the real hero of the story?” thread. At least the “who is Jon’s Mother?” and “Is Aegon still alive?” threads kept on going strong….

      tiny direwolf: I disagree that LSH is irrelevant.

      LSH has not been relevant to the plots or stories as of yet. That she packed a punch for you (or for me or for anyone else) is a completely different issue. It’s the difference between a food being good for you and tasting good to you.

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    59. Wimsey:
      Moreover, we might be wrong: GRRM might have changed his mind after all of these years.(I strongly suspect that his intentions in 2000 were different than they now are, simply because the zombie was such a non-factor in Crows & Dragons.)

      I’m glad you stated that….because I fully believe that LS is there for a singular purpose, which will change things considerably in the tale. But GRRM is dragging that one plotpoint out mercilessly, taunting us, causing much crackpot speculation and virtual jibjab.

      My personal crackpot fanfic, which I’ve explored on other sites, is that her last “breath” is given to one of her dying children…saving (and cursing) them. It could possibly be the last few paragraphs of ADoS.

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    60. Wimsey,

      Spot on. I also like that GRRM has created a character that is very girly but still strong. It’s common in fantasy to only have good female characters who have more masculine coded traits. I like Arya and Brienne a lot but I’m glad to also have characters like Sansa and Catelyn who are intelligent and tough while still being more stereotypically feminine. Feminine is not a synonym for weak.

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    61. Hodor’s Bastard,
      Yeah, I could see that. It could be some sort of “Instant Karma” thing: it might be that (for the first time in Westeros history!) a good deed will go not just unpunished, but rewarded: and that some sacrifice on behalf of another sibling will result in this.

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    62. tiny direwolf:

      I disagree that LSH is irrelevant. I got a huge gut punch the moment I understood the root of vengeance. I wanted it after the RW, we all did. I cheered when LSH showed up but those cheers turned to horror when I realized the result of the desire for revenge. It was heartbreaking and a core message in the saga.

      Couldn’t agree more. The fact that D&D didn’t understand that is baffling.

      Since the first few big news articles on season 5 last summer I knew this season would be disappointing for most people who loved the books. Lots of books/GRRM haters in the comments here btw, even more than usual. Guess i’ll start lurking on westeros more.

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    63. I am super excited for Season 5. I was not a fan of book 4 and book 5 had good moments but needed judicious cutting. I think there are a lot of books 4/5 that will work much better on the screen than the page. Namely:

      Jorah and Tyrion’s travels (because these two actors are fucking awesomesauce)
      Arya’s stuff (I was bored to tears by her in the books but I think it will produce really great visuals, and Maisie can hold her own)
      Cersei vs Margaery because IMO the TV versions are just plain more interesting characters (Heresy!!)
      Politics in Mereen – the ways that they’ve already streamlined this in S4 give me hope. There will be no trying to decide whether to fuck Daario – that’s in the bag. I think that things will remain difficult/tense for Dany, but that she’ll seem more competent in the end (I’m sure this will piss off a lot of Dany haters, I’ll have popcorn ready).
      LC election – I’m excited because of Thorne being a more sympathetic character in the show, and they really set him up to be Jon’s rival for LC. Sam still be pulling the strings and he’s also a great character.
      Sansa and LF – I have no idea where they are going with this, especially given the stuff in the S5 preview?!?! I’m very excited though!

      Stuff that will be worse/the same:
      Stannis/Jon interactions are gold in the book, I think this will be as-is.
      Brienne/Pod if it’s in there at all… They may totally rework her story or leave her out, though. 🙁
      Dorne *sigh* Whyyyy! I don’t think even Alex Siddig can save this turd of a plotline (it was bad in the books and it seems like it’s going to be worse in the show)…
      Theon/Ramsey – Not sure what they are going to do… I think the torture angle has worn very thin.

      ???
      Iron Islands – are they ever going to kill Euron??

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    64. the other guy,

      I love books 1-3, don’t like book 4, enjoyed book 5, and don’t believe any more will be written. I refuse to be accept the label of “book hater” because I’ve moved on.

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    65. WeirwoodTreeHugger,
      Ah, but I would actually blame Catelyn for Sansa more than anyone else! It is more obvious in the books where Catelyn thinks things that she wouldn’t say than it is on TV, but she definitely is in the camp that believes that homely girls are pathetic girls. (TV Catelyn is also a lot less shrewish than book Catelyn is, at least at the outset.) Catelyn is worried about Arya not just because Arya won’t act like a Lady, but because Arya might not turn out to be pretty like Sansa is. On the other hand, Catelyn never once expresses any concern about Sansa’s incuriosity or lack of personal ambition.

      Now, when push comes to shove, I think that Catelyn does rise up and show some steel and intelligence. The shrewish woman of Thrones has greatly receded by Clash, and really is gone by Storm. (Catelyn’s interactions with Brienne as well as the childishness of the male characters probably all contribute to that. ) However, that all happens after Catelyn last saw either of her daughters, and long after she ceased to influence them.

      Out of curiosity, does anyone here know of a “stupid duckling” story arc? The ugly duckling ones are innumerable: but one could argue that those just feed Catelyn’s belief that a homely woman is a pathetic one. Also, suggesting that smart women can become pretty is a little different from suggesting that pretty women can become smart.

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    66. tiny direwolf:
      I disagree that LSH is irrelevant. I got a huge gut punch the moment I understood the root of vengeance. I wanted it after the RW, we all did. I cheered when LSH showed up but those cheers turned to horror when I realized the result of the desire for revenge. It was heartbreaking and a core message in the saga.

      Multiple toasts of Fire & Blood ale goes “stone”-heartily out to you! There are a lot more closet LS supporters out there than haters.

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    67. I actually thought David & Dan’s writing was great last season, all the dialogue in episode 8 being a prime example. I think the blips in season 4 do not come from them, eg the budget cuts shortening Yara at the Dreadfort and Dany taking Meereen, and the producing on ‘that scene’ in episode 3 (although I think even if it was shown exactly as it was in the books, it would still be controversial, because people like to brush over rapes)

      So in short, I have faith, my only concern is that there really wasn’t enough time in the year this year, and next year will be even harder

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    68. the other guy,

      Equating “loving the books” with “only loving the show in relation to how faithful to the books it is” is not a good idea. It kind leaves out the many book readers who also love the books yet accept the necessary differences due to the adaptation process, and even enjoy many of the deliberate changes as well, because they like to be surprised. Being a literalist in one’s approach to a text or its adaptation is not the only way to love a work of art. In fact, it’s not a particularly good way in its own terms —it’s rather shallow and focuses on the specifics of the plot more than anything else. When D&D fuck up in terms of themes and meaning (and they have), that’s when we should be angry, not when, for example, they send Jaime to Dorne. Who cares. They can have him be more involved in the plot while telling the same story as the books.

      If you’ll permit an unflattering analogy, many extreme fans of books —it can be ASOIAF or Harry Potter or whatever— behave like Biblical literalists in regards to adaptations; the letter is always more important than the spirit for them —in other words, they miss the point. The following assertion may piss off that particularly extremist minority: a 100% faithful adaptation of the books into television would indeed tell a better approximation of the plot of the books, but I assure you it would be pretty horrible at telling the actual STORY that is being told in the source material (Wimsey will back me up on this, I imagine —this is a point he has made repeatedly.)

      It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes, when working on a different medium, the plot needs to change so that the story remains the same.

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    69. Plus I generally think even if there is a 5% decrease in how nuanced the story is, the plotlines will be more satisfying. For instance, Tyrion going towards Dany, Davos being at the Wall, Sansa actually having autonomous development, Hardhome being shown, King’s Landing and Meereen being more focused on the established characters… and in fact the story in general being focused on the established characters. These all go towards a happy audience.

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    70. These murders are always interesting… but I rather being positive on season 5. Everybody is worried right now but I bet we will all freak out on April 12!

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    71. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Well said. We know that AFFC/ADWD would need a massive amount of streamlining. There is no way to easily adapt these books into a 10-hour season and keep every fan happy. (Personally, I am concerned about the changes made to the Dorne storyline.) D&D have more information than any of us regarding the end of this great tale. With that in mind, I will be patient and see where they lead us.

      I certainly believe that the elimination of certain characters – Arianne, Griffs, Victarion – is indicative of their overall importance to end game. If another established character can fulfill that purpose and keep the story moving in the same direction, that’s fine (I guess). However, I’m not confident that GRRM will finish writing…which means not ever knowing the end for some of these characters. And that will be disappointing for me. Yes, they may be “minor” characters but I am still interested in their fate.

      S5 will not hurt the overall success of this show. This show is too huge. However, here is what concerns me:

      If Benioff and Weiss rise to the challenge and restrain their self-indulgent urges

      Their “self-indulgent” urges can go off the rails: Talisa, Pod the Sex God, Yara in the Dreadfort. We don’t have time for more of it. S5 will be the proving ground for them as writers/adapters and as fans.

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    72. queenofthrones:
      the other guy,

      I love books 1-3, don’t like book 4, enjoyed book 5, and don’t believe any more will be written.I refuse to be accept the label of “book hater” because I’ve moved on.

      But hasn’t GRRM written some of “Winds of Winter” albeit he is taking his own sweet time about finishing it?

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    73. Jason Concepcion (a.k.a. netw3rk) at Grantland tweeted out something yesterday that perfectly aligns with my own feelings amidst the general aura of anticipation and anxiety that’s percolating throughout the fandom as Season 5 approaches. He said “I’m more excited for this season of Thrones than others. Last season had the best source material. This season has the most potential.”

      I think that sentiment is extremely apt. While I love all four seasons of Game of Thrones, I thought Season 4 was the strongest, most confident, and most consistent season to date – which is why it was my favorite that the show has done so far. Of course, a significant part of that enthusiasm stemmed from seeing iconic moments from the books realized on screen. But mostly it came from my appreciation for just how much better David Benioff and Dan Weiss have gotten at making Game of Thrones – rather than just a televisual adaptation of A Song and Ice and Fire.

      With each passing season, I think that Benioff and Weiss have gotten better at tying the numerous geographically disparate storylines together, either thematically or through devices like direct visual transitions and dialogue. They’ve gotten better at understanding where certain characters are in their respective arcs, and how that should correlate their relative prominence – namely, who would benefit from more screentime at this particular moment, and who would benefit from less. And yes – they’ve gotten better and more confident about how and when they should deviate from the novels – either out of objective necessity or because, from their perspective, it’s simply more appropriate for the specific story that they’re telling. Or, to put it in simpler terms, they’ve gotten better at making television.

      Regardless of how you feel about AFFC and ADWD, it’s widely acknowledged that they introduce a ton of new characters and contain many digressive elements that will be either extremely difficult or outright impractical to adapt. Furthermore, the last two books remain unpublished and thus unavailable to serve as a point of direct comparison. As such, Seasons 5-7 of Game of Thrones will have to stand on their merits. For my money, that puts it on par with … every single film or TV series ever made, whether it’s based on source material or not. If you don’t believe that David Benioff and Dan Weiss have sufficient ability as writers to handle that task effectively, then there’s likely nothing that I can say to change your mind or your feelings. The show will go on regardless; -as Axechucker says, “final nail in the coffin” is a very loaded phrase – the show is a tremendous success and even a noticeable dip in quality is unlikely to spell any measure of doom for the show amidst the vast majority of the fandom. But if you can’t let go of your trepidation about the show leaving the books behind and don’t have faith in what’s to come, then I understand. And I’m sorry.

      Because personally … I do have faith. In my opinion, Benioff and Weiss are both damn fine writers who have taken on a borderline impossible task in adapting this massive, sprawling, digressive, complicated and beloved fantasy epic – and for four seasons, they’ve done an amazing job. Their burden and their reward? They get to continue this story and end it as they see fit. Some of it will be a streamlined version of ASOIAF, some of it will be completely of their own design. Game of Thrones belongs to them now as much or more as it belongs to George R.R. Martin (in contrast to the novels, which remain Martin’s domain and his alone). The reasons I welcome their decision to plunge ahead into the unknown and make whatever changes they wish is exactly the same reason that GRRM should take however damn long he feels like he needs in order to finish the books – ideally, an artist’s work should represent the artist’s vision, not a compromised or water-down version beholden to someone else’s impossible standard. It should be something that they can look back and be proud of, not a compromised version of what they think someone else wants that will force them to wonder “What if …?”

      So I say bring on Jaime in Dorne! Bring on Jon at Hardhome! Bring on a new chapter for Sansa and the return of Jaqen H’ghar (or at least Tom Wlaschiha)! Bring on the long-anticipated meeting of Tyrion and Daenerys and the demise of the Meereenese Knot! Bring on the Night’s King and the damn White Walkers! And shed no tears for Lady Stoneheart and the Riverlands campaign, fAegon and Jon Connington, Arianne and Quentyn Martell, Victarion and Aeron Greyjoy or the many colorfully-named characters Brienne meets during her search for a maid-of-three-and-ten with auburn hair. (Well, you can if you like, but I hope that you will forgive me if I don’t join you. Maybe if Wyman Manderly doesn’t make the cut, then we can pour one out for him together).

      Potential is the key word here. The potential of the unknown. As anticipated as the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding, and so many of the other major iconic events from the books were, we knew that they were coming … and we knew that nothing else in that particular season was likely to match them. No matter what was happening, we were always counting down to something else – something bigger and better that we knew was lurking just around the bend. Now, with one or two notable exceptions, the clock is stopped. But what’s exciting is that those iconic moments could still be waiting just around the corner … along with the same compelling characters, memorable quotes, and lavish production values that we’ve come to expect from Game of Thrones. Some of the sheer scale and memorable details of the books may have to be sacrificed in order to gain some much-needed urgency and narrative tidiness for the show’s chosen plotlines, but it will still be a great story. And I have confidence that what we gain in return will be worth it.

      Since I started this by citing a tweet, I’ll end with one (or rather two). James Poniewozik, a television critic for Time Magazine, said this after he saw the trailer for Season 5. “GoT s5 is increasingly ditching the books. I may be in a minority among readers, but I can’t wait … I want GoT to create an equivalent that works on the screen. If I just wanted the books illustrated, I’d read them & close my eyes.”

      My eyes, my mind, and my heart are all open. And they’re all ready for Season 5. Bring it on.

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    74. Wimsey: Out of curiosity, does anyone here know of a “stupid duckling” story arc? The ugly duckling ones are innumerable: but one could argue that those just feed Catelyn’s belief that a homely woman is a pathetic one. Also, suggesting that smart women can become pretty is a little different from suggesting that pretty women can become smart.

      Erm, I felt that Catelyn belief that homely women are to be pitied (she says she pities Brienne, she obviously does not think she is pathetic) is quite realistic in her world. Unfortunately there literally are no other options for women in Westeros than to make a good match. And your degree of attractiveness will make that much more likely to happen. Honestly just look at what happened to Brienne! She wanted to be a good daughter to her father – but because she wasn’t attractive, she couldn’t make a decent match, and refused those she could get. I can’t see why Catelyn is wrong to pity her?

      I also disagree strongly with the idea that Catelyn (or really anyone but Arya herself) think that Arya is or will be ugly, beyond her choice of getting dirty and wearing masculine clothes. Ned points out that she looks just like Lyanna at her age.

      As for whether she values intelligence, Catelyn obviously values political astuteness in adults of any gender – see how she treats Edmure or Lysa vs the Blackfish, for example. Why do you think she wouldn’t value it in her own children? It never actually came up with Sansa or Arya (and to be honestly neither of them was at all politically astute, maybe we can put that one on Ned though).

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    75. Dame of Mercia,

      Sure, but he supposedly had Dance nearly finished when AFFC came out. Then it took 6 years.

      He also claimed shortly after Dance that he had a goodly chunk of Winds done, because it had to be cut from Dance. 4 years later, and he is halfway-ish. If it ever comes out, which I personally doubt, I’m guessing it will be after the series concludes and I probably won’t care that much anymore.

        Quote  Reply

    76. mariamb,

      Pod the Sex God? That’s like 5 minutes. The Yara subplot was two scenes. And how is Talisa self indulgent?
      Off the rails? None of this comes even close to the selfindulgence of many other writers, and especially GRRM. But I guess the show is just put up to different standards

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    77. Jared,

      That was beautiful. Truly. I couldn’t agree more. I also want to send that last quote to everyone who asks about my position on the matter of wanting a 100% faithful adaptation.

        Quote  Reply

    78. Luka Nieto:
      the other guy,

      It kind leaves out the many book readers who also love the books yet accept the necessary differences due to the adaptation process

      Thing is though, the stuff most people hate on aren’t “necessary differences”.
      D&D didn’t have to cut LSH. They didn’t have to replace CH helping Bran&co with lousy action scenes in Craster’s keep just because Jon needed something to do mid-S4. They didnt have to give more screentime to Gilly over Stannis last season, like someone pointed out. They just made these decisions accordingly to what they thought would be best for the show. Turns out it wasn’t.
      And as soon as someone agrees with that, they’re labeled book purists, D&D haters and so on. I’m not saying the “original content” from D&D is bad because it’s not in the books. I’m saying it’s bad because there’s a ton of stuff from the books that is 200% better than some of the stuff they chose to show in the ~10 hours they have.

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    79. Hodor’s Bastard: There are a lot more closet LS supporters out there than haters.

      But saying that X has not relevant so far is not saying “I hate X.” It also is not saying that “X never will be relevant.” It is simply saying that X has not had a tangible effect on the plots or the story told after Storm, and X definitely has not had enough of an effect to include in the TV series.

      As I’ve written many times before, I think that X will become relevant before all is said and done. Your “fan-fix” scenario is far from totally ridiculous. But as I’ve also written many times before, I think that it is a capital mistake to introduce a character in a TV series or film series before he/she becomes relevant. (This is an area where what works for books and what works for screens is very different!) Screen and stage audiences are naturally Chekovian.

      And if GRRM fluffs it here, well, so be it. This tale is complicated: it’s got lots of plots and lots of characters. He won’t do all of them equally well: that just isn’t possible. Fluffing this will not be sufficient to mess up the series.

      the other guy: D&D didn’t have to cut LSH.

      Yes they did unless they intended to heavily rewrite the plots of Crows/Dragons so that LSH was relevant to them. If you are going to do a season-ending cliffhanger like that, then there has to be a payoff the next season. IF LSH becomes uniquely relevant in Winter, then the time to bring LSH back is Season 6. TV and film audiences are very frugal: they dislike stuff that does not have a payoff at the end of the season or film.

      the other guy: They didn’t have to replace CH helping Bran&co with lousy action scenes in Craster’s keep just because Jon needed something to do mid-S4.

      No, they didn’t. However, it would have been bad TV to keep it like the book. Cinematically, it was superior to adapt CH sacking Craster’s with Bran being only vaguely threatened with Jon sacking it with Bran being actively threatened. Again, TV and film audiences are frugal: having this done with established characters, and with a more immediate payoff works sits much better with people watching a story instead of reading it.

      the other guy: They didnt have to give more screentime to Gilly over Stannis last season, like someone pointed out.

      Gilly’s screen time comes from being with Sam, who is one of the protagonists. Stannis’s screen time comes from being with Davos, who was not as crucial a protagonist in the second half of Storms as Sam was.

      So, that means that they had to give more screen time to Sam than to Davos, and thus more screen time to the characters supporting Sam than to the characters supporting Davos.

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    80. JustWannaBePure,

      D&D have done many things well. And, as I said, this is a massive undertaking. I still think that the certain characters/scenes were not well handled. It doesn’t matter how long the particular scene lasted.

      I’m sure that S5 will do the story justice. I’m sure that it will get us to where we need to be. At the same time, I can say that I don’t care for some of the choices that were made in the past.

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    81. if the “big” battle this season is going to be Hardhome, does that meen no Battle for Winterfell?

      This is bad news. D&D should aviod ending the season in multiple cliffhangers… it didnt do GRRM any good.

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    82. queenofthrones: I felt that Catelyn belief that homely women are to be pitied (she says she pities Brienne, she obviously does not think she is pathetic

      To say something is pathetic and to say that something is pitiable are essentially synonymous statements. (Both come from the word “pathos” after all.) Moreover, Catelyn’s coming around to realize that Brienne is capable happens later: the Catelyn at the end has evolved considerably from the Catleyn at the beginning, and it’s the Catelyn in the beginning that is germane here.

      queenofthrones: I also disagree strongly with the idea that Catelyn (or really anyone but Arya herself) think that Arya is or will be ugly

      Catelyn worries that Arya will be plain. Hermione Granger wasn’t supposed to be “ugly” either: just plain. That’s usually where the ugly duckling arc begins, not with actual “ugly.”

      queenofthrones: As for whether she values intelligence, Catelyn obviously values political astuteness in adults of any gender

      Ah, but that is later in the series, and long after Catelyn has ceased interacting with her daughters. Catelyn undergoes quite a bit of dynamic development, and more than a few scales fall from her eyes as the series unwinds. In particular, the inability of the anti-Lannister forces to unite is a real eye-opener for her. Regardless, Catelyn never thinks of intelligence or self-sufficiency or astuteness as being important or relevant traits for her daughters. She never even falls into the dreaded “pretty one” and “smart one” dichotomy that is used to divide so many sisters in our world!

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    83. I think this series is worrying because when they’ve strayed from the source material D&D have been patchy at best.
      For me, I think the main worry comes from the act that the last episode of last season was the most disappointing or the entire series so far (which is odd as I thought the rest of the season was very strong) and so being my last input of GoT has left a little bit of a bitter taste. Yes, the changes from the book bugged me (whereas before I’ve been quite understanding and even impressed with what they’d done) but also the fact they really dropped the ball on a number of other scenes including the Tyrion/Tywin stuff.
      People criticising the books have got to realise after the all-action affair that was Storm they needed to introduce new characters, plots and locations to build towards the eventual conclusion. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that this is not going to be as good as the books were for me, but will apply the same logic as I did to them. This is a season for setting up the remaining two (still bugs me they didn’t ask for one more season to complete it as I think they could have included aspects that have been lost).
      Whatever happens, it can’t go as far off the rails as True Blood did. By the end I just watched it as a comedy as it had turned that terrible.

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    84. Reading that second part on TOTH (and the comments) is like entering a parallel universe in which the quality of the show steadily deteriorated after Season 1. In this universe, the show has been getting better, critically and commercially, as it goes on.

      I’m both worried and excited about this upcoming season. It could suck, but I think it’s more likely that it will be a giant step up from Books 4 and 5.

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    85. JustWannaBePure:

      No. New threats and characters weren’t needed, there were more than enough.

      There really weren’t many threats left after Storm; other than the inevitable MIA Walkers coming down. Dorne coming into play was the next logical conclusion.
      How could the conflicts left off from the third book ever possibly tie over to seven whole books?

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    86. the other guy: Thing is though, the stuff most people hate on aren’t “necessary differences”.
      They didnt have to give more screentime to Gilly over Stannis last season, like someone pointed out.

      What would you have Stannis do? His book material up to the point where he goes to the wall was exhausted the moment Gendry sailed away from Dragonstone in the season 3 finale.

      The show actually did give Stannis some extra screentime by having him go to Braavos

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    87. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Just because he’s the author doesn’t make him infallible. There were already so many things for him to wrap up, and his own admitted trouble with things like the Meereenese Knot illustrates that it was a bad idea to expand.

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    88. Hey can anyone link me to the watchersonthewall article about the re-shoots for the season 5 battle that D&D talked about? Now that it seems this will be Hardhome I’d like to revisit that article and I can’t find it

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    89. JustWannaBePure,

      Ah, I take it you subscribe to the school of thought that Dany should have just invaded everything after stopping off at Meereen. Which, realistically, would have her and all her army dead after a couple months. There’s no way she could have invaded an entire continent in that shape – not sure if you realize this.

      I don’t presume to know what GRRM had in mind when he made her stay there for so long (because I don’t have the last two books to go off; much less know if she was ever even meant to land on Westeros), but I do know you can’t get from point A to C without anything in between.

      The Walker threat I have nothing to say on because that’s still a wildcard mystery to everyone. But other than those two — no, there were no more threats on Westeros.
      Storm is the end of the first arc in the story. If you’re going to jump into a second arc, you need some fresh elements.

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    90. Here’s my theory on Briene story line , she runs into lady stoneheart , but lady stoneheart runs into Sansa and little finger and something crazy happens and that’s the Sansa moment where gonna get

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    91. Luka Nieto: If you’ll permit an unflattering analogy, many extreme fans of books —it can be ASOIAF or Harry Potter or whatever— behave like Biblical literalists in regards to adaptations; the letter is always more important than the spirit for them —in other words, they miss the point.

      This is spot-on, in many ways. You are completely correct that it’s not unique to SoI&F fans: the Potterheads and Tolkienites were just as bad if not worse. Potter offers a more apt comparison because the movie series started before the book series ended. Some fans criticized many of the “omissions” because they were just positive that the cut characters/details were going to be important later. However, those characters/details never were!

      What was really telling is that the hardcore Potter fans thought that the first two films were wonderful, and many Tolkien fans envied the Potter fans films that were that “true” to the books. However, audiences did not love those films (the audiences dropped 20% after both) and critics pointed out that any story or coherent plot was buried under loads of unnecessary details. In contrast, the Potter fans hated Prisoner: which in turn got the strongest reviews (save for the very last film) and produced the biggest increase in audience for the next film. To top it off, Rowling herself stated that Prisoner did the best job of telling its story!

      If people wanted lots of “details” and nuanced plots, then they would watch the History channel. However, the people that watch HBO want the story. And the way that you tell any story on screen is going to be different from the way you tell it with only words.

      Young Dragon,
      And there is no reason to think he won’t appear in Season 6.

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    92. Rygar,

      Hey, Deadwood and The Wire are widely considered to be two of the five best series ever made for television (they’re in my own top 10 as well). No shame at all in falling short of that admirably high standard. You will get no absolutely arguments from me about either one of those two shows being better than Game of Thrones … at least as long as Game of Thrones remains unfinished. 😉

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    93. why do people hate Talisa? Jeyne westerling was barely even in the book, its not really “changing” the story if the women Robb marries gets him zero fighting men (>50 in the book with the westerling marriage), happens as a result of Robb experiences some horrible event (Bran and Rickon’s fake death/ and jamie free at the hand of his mother). Literally every plot point Jeyne brings is still left intact with Talisa. I’m usually not a fan of original stories but citing Talisa as an example when there are plenty real ones out there is a waste of time.

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    94. I look forward to seeing the companion piece to this – “what if season 5 is great” – because you are writing that one in the name of balance, right? Right?

      The fan negativity wears you down eventually, and sadly the title of this articles series feeds into that.

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    95. Topping some of the really big events in the series that have happened so far is going to be hard.

      I think the creators have that in mind though and will probably try to find new ways to surprise us.

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    96. Young Dragon,

      Aegon, Lady Stoneheart, Euron, Victarion, Darkstar (lol), Manderly vs. Frey.

      davyJones,

      I don’t think people hate Talisa for replacing Jeyne so much as her being “change” for the sake of change. And nonsense. Why is a noblewoman from Volantis running around the Riverlands healing people? Also ham-fisted sob background stories and pretty flat dialogue/interactions.

        Quote  Reply

    97. Jared,
      Hell of a post. Here’s my analogy: B&W were given a shark, and told to make it work on land. They’ve given us a Tyrannosaurus. People need to stop complaining about the missing fins and gills, and stop insisting that the lungs, claws and feathers serve no purpose.

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    98. I cannot understand why they cut the Riverlands plot. Obviously, the Dorners are going to soil their breeches with glee over the extension of its time this season (and then soil them again, in anger, at the changes to the Sand Snakes). But why set up Edmure, Blackfish (and his escape), Riverrun, et al, only to just forget about them in the long run? The Riverlands was the biggest change for Jaime, and proved that he’s actually the most capable lord in the series, not to mention that he has to end up back there to meet up with Brienne.

      Speaking of the Beauty… can we get some Nimble Dick? That would basically make any other complaints I have completely disappear.

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    99. Renly’s Peach,

      I don’t see how Lady Stoneheart is a threat to the Iron Throne. I was counting the ironborn as an overall threat, not the singular players. Same with Dorne, which is why I didn’t include Darkstar, if he somehow does turn out to be dangerous. And I’m not sure how Manderly is going to come into play, but it’s my belief he and the rest of the North are going to join Stannis.

      Wimsey,
      Fair enough. I was simply going by what was depicted in the trailer.

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    100. There’s simply no way they’ll cut the Manderlys. Wylla, maybe. White Harbor, maybe. But you get the

      shock of Seaworth’s “death”, the delight of the Frey Pies, and “the mummer’s farce is almost done”,

      which I think is the biggest twist and best quote of the past two books.

      I mean, they made “The North Remembers” part of the promotional materials for Season 3. Maybe I’m getting my hopes up. I probably am. I’m going to go eat some pie.

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    101. I wouldn’t say that the original content is, by and large, bad or worse than the source material. There are scenes with original content that work absolutely great, and there are scenes with source material that don’t work at all. The question of whether or not a given scene works is not tied at all to the source material – it’s a question of good writing versus bad writing

      THIS. So much of it. For example in the last season they had brilliant ideas: Brienne vs The Hound comes to mind, which they capitalized on by writing it well in the overall season.

      They had some good ones that came of badly whether it was execution or simply poor planning: Yara escaping Dreadfort supposedly chased by a pack of dogs, because that’s what Ironborn do, when they could have shown a true fight and retreat because: defeated, or outnumbered or something (after the build up they had with her rallying the ships and heroic speech for Theon’s rescue it came of badly).

      And then there was Carster’s which I think it was simply bad to begin with and by and large I have seen and heard more negative opinions on the subject than positive.

      GoT has gained too much of a following to actually suffer the loss of a source material. The scripts will stand the criticism or praise on their own merit now and that can only motivate them to do well. Right?! #NoPressure

      All that being said, I’m quite excited to see how Dorne plot is done on screen. They did wonderful with Oberyn and by the looks of it, I think they’ll nail it with the rest of the Martells too! I made my piece with Arienne being cut. RIP Princess of Dorne and you there, the one who’s of the night. You were such a bad book character that I have literally developed a fondness for you.

      Hoyti Von Totiy,

      YES! I want to know that myself. Is Battle of the Winterfell out or not?! Why is Stannis Baratheon covered all in blood if there’s WB????
      I got TWO WORDS for those non-believers (you know who you are… lexicon guys!): Deepwood Motte!

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    102. Robb’s wife wasn’t changed for no reason. If the show kept the original character then they would have to show the subplot of her being from a house pledged to the Lannisters. That would have gotten confusing for an already complex show. By changing the name and origin of the wife they where able to completely ignore that subplot from the books.

      And on the show the reasoning for the Red Wedding was still the same.

      Not sure why fans have such a hard time coming to very easy logical conclusion on why the change was made.

        Quote  Reply

    103. Renly’s Peach: I don’t think people hate Talisa for replacing Jeyne so much as her being “change” for the sake of change.

      It wasn’t change for the sake of change: it was change that needed to be made. The show elevates Robb Stark to a lead character from a supporting status in the books. In doing so, it is trying to develop Robb as a strong man. One trait of strong men is that they find strong women attractive, whereas weak men always are threatened by strong women. So, having Robb fall for a strong independent woman develops him as man of strong and secure character, and sets him above characters that say things like “smart women do as they are told.” In contrast, having Robb marry out of petty honor makes him look weak: risking ambition for love is understandable (we all do it!), but risking ambition for foolish morality makes a person look backwards.

      Jeyne, on the other hand, was only passable in the books and she would have been disastrous on TV. When re-reading Storm, I couldn’t help but to read her in a Lavender Brown voice from Harry Potter: “Oh, Wobb Wobb, I wuv you!!!” Now, it didn’t hurt the book too much, but that was because Catelyn is the only protagonist of relevance. (Also, and mercifully, Jeyne is barely in the books.) Jeyne really is Catelyn’s problem and puts Catelyn in the love-hate conflict that is the Storms story. It worked OK there. It would have been a bad joke on TV and would have completely undermined everything that they tried to do with Robb.

      Renly’s Peach: Why is a noblewoman from Volantis running around the Riverlands healing people?

      Why do people ever go abroad to “less developed” countries to do charity work? Usually it’s because they are ethical people at some level who give a damn about the rest of the world. Westerosi are considered to be little better than savages in Essos. Now, this “missionary” stuff can be a bit patronizing: but it usually is done with good intentions, especially as she does not seem to be intent on converting Westerosi people, just helping them. Moreover, having her come around from viewing Robb as a barbarian to viewing him as a man helped develop Robb’s character further.

      But that also develops Talisa as a woman worthy of the character that they developed in Robb: and Lavender Brown wasn’t.

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    104. Luka Nieto,

      Luka, could you update Ollie Kram to be playing “Courtesan” or something like that on the wiki? Because we already knew she was going to be a Braavosi girl in a scene with Brea and now we have that image of her in the green skimpy thingmy from the trailer (which could be the page image for her character btw).

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    105. Young Dragon,

      I’m not talking about threats to the Throne directly, I’m just talking about threats in general. Since the original person said the story didn’t need any new threats/characters.

      Wimsey,

      Sharks are superior to dinosaurs, though. It is known.
      They have multiple rows of teeth. And scary faces.

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    106. I may be wrong but I’m sure at the time there was a a rumour they changed Jeyne to Talisa becuase they didn’t want her to become confused (because apparently the average viewer can’t handle two people having the same name!) with a character not yet introduced. That points to a fArya plotline but I think we can all agree that is looking ever less likely.
      On the point of name changes, still unsure why Asha had to become Yara. Asha and Osha are spelt and pronounced differently. Yet again, do they think people are really that dumb?!

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    107. Renly’s Peach:
      Young Dragon,

      I’m not talking about threats to the Throne directly, I’m just talking about threats in general. Since the original person said the story didn’t need any new threats/characters.

      Wimsey,

      Sharks are superior to dinosaurs, though. It is known.
      They have multiple rows of teeth. And scary faces.

      Dinosaurs are extinct. Sharks are not! 😛

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    108. Rygar:
      I hope this becomes another zombie vs resurrected thread.

      You got your wish by the looks of it (at least for a part of the thread)! I know how much you love

      LS

      and how you’ll celebrate when she’ll be in in S6.

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    109. TheTouchOfFrost:
      I may be wrong but I’m sure at the time there was a a rumour they changed Jeyne to Talisa becuase they didn’t want her to become confused (because apparently the average viewer can’t handle two people having the same name!) with a character not yet introduced. That points to a fArya plotline but I think we can all agree that is looking ever less likely.On the point of name changes, still unsure why Asha had to become Yara. Asha and Osha are spelt and pronounced differently. Yet again, do they think people are really that dumb?!

      Tbh, I like the name yara a lot more then Asha. So don’t mind the change

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    110. Wimsey,

      Do you really think a noblewoman from Volantis is going to travel halfway across the world to help completely random people in poverty and amidst a dangerous series of wars? That’s a fairly modern take on things and would never fly in that setting – (not even to talk about the fairy-tale-esque “falling in love with the rebel king” side of it). Especially after you just recognized that Essosi peoples don’t bat an eye at Westerosi issues and consider it beneath them.
      I agree that she needed to have some development to elevate her, and I’m really not a Talisa hater, but her character was handled in the cheesiest way possible. Why not just make her a daughter of one of his bannermen or something? Or hell, a commoner from the Riverlands?

      And while I agree that Jeyne wasn’t even that much better in the books, I do take issue when you say it’d have been “too confusing” to bring her in. I don’t understand why people need to constantly baby the audience. Are the people who watch this show really that dumb? They can’t have two things be too much alike or their heads will explode?

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    111. Wimsey,

      YES. People always cite this as one of D&D’s biggest missteps; I just don’t agree at all. Jeyne was given all of two lines and zero development, and what little material she got, she proved to be annoying in.

      Robb breaking his vows because he loved Talisa is much more compelling, and makes him a stronger character, than marrying her because he felt like he should. It just wouldn’t work on screen. No one would like Jeyne, and she would seem like a huge burden on Robb who foolishly decided to break his vows unnecessarily.

      And I didn’t hate Talisa’s character either. She was strong and sweet, and really cared for others. She hated violence, and didn’t treat people differently just because they were Lannisters or Baratheons. She was, like you mentioned, essentially doing charity work in a war torn country. And there were some great moments that totally made her character worth it to me; Catelyn’s monologue to her, the wedding in 2×10, and her demise at the Wedding.

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    112. JustWannaBePure,

      YES. People cite these as these horrible, unforgivable, black marks on D&D’s record. If these are the biggest problems D&D had, then they’ve obviously done wonderfully (which they have.)

      Pod? Like you said, took 5 minutes (max.) The audience needed to know Pod, and have him cemented as a character in their minds, which this obviously did. No, it wasn’t stellar, brilliant content. But it was a few minutes long scene that provided some much needed lighthearted levity, and was NOT that big a deal.

      Yara? Her trip, also, took a maximum of ten minutes TOTAL. Again, she needs to be cemented in the viewers minds. She doesn’t have much to do, and this was a good way to show how much she cares about Theon, and how good of a fighter she is. It also provided some great moments, like Theon being scared by, and actually attacking Yara. I actually liked this storyline ALOT, although the way it was resolved did kind of soil it. I wish they had found a way to make it have more of an impact, like having Yara get captured or something? But again, I just don’t see it as some horrible, dreadful mistake.

      And Talisa. I’ve already written about her on here, but they turned a complete non-character and changed her, fleshed her out, and made Robb not look like an idiot. I welcomed it.

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    113. Reinier,

      Looks like Loras is going to continue being a manwhore this season as well. SIGH

      Could very well be related to her “They’ll never even find what’s left of you” line.

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    114. Reinier,

      So the Faith Militant destroy a whorehouse, not just the establishment selling alcohol we see in the trailer (and there were reports from an extra that they would trash another establishment selling heretic religious icons.) I really like that Olenna will at last be more personally involved on political matters.

      Renly’s Peach,

      Where do you get that idea?

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    115. Reinier,

      Thanks for posting that!

      Luka Nieto,

      Someone (I think on the trailer thread) mentioned maybe Olenna’s line in the trailer was spoken to Littlefinger. The information about the brothel would point to that being a possibility.

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    116. Luka Nieto,

      What other reason would the old matriarch of House Tyrell have for going into a “trashed” King’s Landing brothel than to speak with someone she cares for? And we already know Loras is going to get arrested this season for doing just that.
      I’m just putting 2 and 2 together.

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    117. Luka Nieto,

      Okay. So she must be meeting with Littlefinger in his now destroyed brothel (we know he’s in KL). Secrecy would be a reason for a lady of her status to go to one. As co-conspirators they meet and have a falling out, leading to her saying “They’ll never even find what’s left of you.”

      Looking at the image from the trailer, the background does have the familiar reddish tinge the brothel has.

      Edit: Curses, jinx, etc.

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    118. Greenjones,

      Hm, there’s no rush. Best to wait until we know how the character will be credited, maybe. Well, let’s hope The Dragon Demands sees this and he’ll decide. He’s an administrator, he knows how things are done better than I.

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    119. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      I could see QoT saying that after LF confides to her that he has Sansa. Once she responds, he then tells her why “they” wouldn’t dare do so. He is going to make a deal “they” can’t refuse, on Sansa’s behalf. But as we know, all deals work out cleanly in KL, don’t they?

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    120. WeirwoodTreeHugger:
      I agree that AFFC and ADWD are good despite fewer plot twists and less action but that much of it would make poor television.

      Hmm. AFFC and ADWD had puh-lenty of plot twists and action. It just didn’t seem so to many readers because, somehow, some way, Martin made them boring. Which is just one of the multitudes, MULTITUDES, of reasons why they are bad books. In my own, humble, opinion.

      Which is right.

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    121. Hodor’s Bastard,

      I hadn’t even thought yet why she would say that line, if it is indeed to LF. I think I’m still too busy chuckling over her saying “…and I’m surrounded by bits of dildo.”

      Yes, though, we all know how deals in KL always work out exactly as planned.

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    122. Most shows (maybe with exception of Breaking Bad) lose quality as they get close to the end, I personally think this already has happened to GOT in some ways.

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    123. I don’t have anything intelligent to contribute myself but I just want to say I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion in the post and in the comments 🙂

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    124. Ser Matt the Sullen,

      It makes sense to me, especially if they are going to {SPOILERS}revive john this season. The scene wouldn’t have as much of an impact if the idea that major characters could come back had already been established. It would just cheapen the death, and make the revival of the character seem a little ridiculous. {END SPOILERS}

      On a side note, I think that the show has been improving by leaps and bounds every season, so I am personally not too worried about Season 5.

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    125. Hey if you guys are still doing “Game of Thrones laughs” Ozzyman has a hilarious breakdown of the Season 5 trailer :-]

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    126. Renly’s Peach: Do you really think a noblewoman from Volantis is going to travel halfway across the world to help completely random people in poverty and amidst a dangerous series of wars?

      Why not? Would it be common? No. Would it be impossible? No. Does the viewing audience worry if this is consistent with Volantene culture? Of course not.

      What worked so well about this was that it took an idealistic young lady who is an analog of a Peace Corp worker and hooks her up with an idealistic young man who is an analog of a Freedom Fighter. Both of these are inherently Romantic ideas in the classic sense: and that’s always good ground for breeding romance in the conventional sense. A bannerman’s daughter would not have worked: the idealism of helping innocents (such as we get from Talisa’s insistence on treating the Lannister soldiers) would have been absent. Moreover, the reminder that Westerosi culture frowns on women acting on their own that Talisa provides (which is important for understanding Arya, Brienne and Cersei) would be undermined.

      The character Don Draper on Mad Men frequently summarizes how romance should be handled. The point is not to sell sex: it’s to make men want to be that boy and to make women want to be that girl. Given the demographics that watch this show, the chosen path should have done that for a lot of people; the path from the book would not have been so successful.

      brandone jackson: And there were some great moments that totally made her character worth it to me; Catelyn’s monologue to her, the wedding in 2×10, and her demise at the Wedding.

      And the perverse cruelty of having fetal Ned Stark killed by a Lannister lackey again. The term “delicious irony” comes to mind here! We just watched that episode last night. What I do find particularly strange about people claiming “they should have stuck to the book!” is that, as a book reader, killing Talisa AND having it done so that her Ned Stark bearing uterus was the target made the scene a figurative knife in the gut for me that it otherwise would not have been. This is at least the third time I’ve watched it, and the scene is still wrenching to watch!

      Cumsprite: Renly’s Peach:
      Wow. People around here never miss a chance to talk shit about the last two books, do they?

      Never.

      Geez, I have been forgetting to do that in a lot of my posts. Do I get demerits?

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    127. Cumsprite,

      I had to do a double take. I have never seen you speak with so much restraint of them. It looks almost nice.

      You mellowed, Mr. Sprite! Could one hope you will root for TWoW to not suck?! Better not. That would simply break you.

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    128. Tough crowd 😉 I haven’t read the books, which I suppose puts me at a certain disadvantage in forums and comment sections such as this. I am, however, very interested in the reaction among readers to changes in the story/character and to the additions made by the show runners. It seems that there is primarily harsh reaction to a few very isolated incidents which, to me, seem very minor. I guess, I’m trying to better understand the concerns. I’m not sure the following constitute spoilers but I’ll mark them as such anyway.

      Most common complaints I’ve heard:

      Tyrion-Tywin
      This seems like a huge one, the omission of the Tysha revelation. This strikes me as something that probably works great in the novel but would not have played well in adaptation to television. I suspect the show runners recognized that rather than have a story that took place in the past be Tyrion’s motivating factor, it made more sense to assert it through a “live” character (hence the changes to the Shae/Tyrion relationship some also complain about). To me, it was completely understandable why Tyrion wouldn’t just flee. He’d certainly been put through enough by Tywin that he might want to confront him, rather than just run away. And then seeing Shae in his bed, well… Seemed like enough for him to break.

      Jon at Crasters
      This falls in the “unnecessary additions” group, I guess. Is this just an issue that it seems pointless because, as a reader, you know that it isn’t important? As a viewer, that is, of course, not clear. While I don’t have any great affection for the scene, I think it did have the effect of establishing Jon as a leader others want to follow. In essence, the scene at the Wall is more important, but the raid on Craster’s is a necessary outcome. It also has the added benefit of bringing Bran in contact with someone you care about outside his little band of gypsies.

      Yara raid
      Admittedly this didn’t work well, though I think it might actually been more an issue of editing rather than intent. The scene effectively shows Yara that Theon is a lost cause, but is undone by the quick cut at the end (before the dogs are released). I don’t think people would have as big an issue if the wild dogs had been unleashed and Ramsay and Co were shown to have the upper hand. Still, in the grand scheme of things, this seems like a very minor issue to sully one’s overall opinion of the show and the show runner’s ability to tell a good story.

      LS
      This one seems divisive even among book readers. I’m of the mind that if there’s no payoff, then don’t show it. Bring it in later if there’s meat to it, but don’t just do something because it’s surprising in the moment.

      Beetles
      Most seem to hate this scene. Perhaps I’m a sucker for any interaction between Tyrion and Jaime, but, while it’s by no means a favorite of mine, I found it affecting. It’s Tyrion grasping at straws, trying to make sense of something that makes no sense, hoping his brother can do something, anything for him. It’s no Oberyn-Tyrion prison sequence, but it didn’t strike me as some great offense.

      Other stuff seems pretty insignificant. The “Only Cat” vs. “Your sister” change. Pod being a sex god (I personally thought this silly detail was effective not only in cementing Pod in the viewers mind, as one commenter pointed out, but also in creating some amusing banter between him, Bronn, and Tyrion, solidifying the relationship of all three). I’ve heard some complain about the Hound-Brienne fight, which I find fascinating because I thought it was pretty great.

      And speaking of the Hound, were not a lot of his scenes with Arya invented and/or expanded? For example the scene where they come across the dying man — the sort of Waiting for Godot scene. I thought that was excellent, and obviously set up what was to come with them. Perhaps that was in the book, I don’t know.

      In any event, I’m just curious what the major issues are. I’m sure I’ve left out a number. I can’t say it’s a great adaptation because I haven’t read the books, but I find nearly all of it compelling and much of it riveting. Perhaps Benioff and Weiss just have a thankless task? Adapting a beloved story that isn’t finished has to be more than a little challenging.

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    129. Luka Nieto,
      Before you set the date I feel I should warn you that the spritey one can be a bit unreliable. I was promoted to top of his hit list a few weeks ago and promised my very own flaming bag of poo. Everyday I skip down to my doormat and it remains stubbornly fire and poo free my heart sinks a little. Could have got lost in the post I suppose but I can’t help being disappointed. I thought we had something special….SIGH!

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    130. Hey, loved reading your post, slimchicken ! Always great to have the opinion of an Unsullied, especially one who has some knowledge of the books plots as you do !

      Now, as to that part :

      Jon at Crasters
      This falls in the “unnecessary additions” group, I guess. Is this just an issue that it seems pointless because, as a reader, you know that it isn’t important? As a viewer, that is, of course, not clear. While I don’t have any great affection for the scene, I think it did have the effect of establishing Jon as a leader others want to follow. In essence, the scene at the Wall is more important, but the raid on Craster’s is a necessary outcome. It also has the added benefit of bringing Bran in contact with someone you care about outside his little band of gypsies.

      My main issue with it is that it should have never happened so the main battle could take place around episode 6 or 7 max, leaving the rest of the season to finish Jon’s third book material… Now, he’s the character with the greatest amount of material ahead, which may very well mean that we wont get all the subtleties of his book 5 material.

      EDIT : Oh, and speaking of Jon again, my other main issue with the show was in season 2 : the decision to have Jon spend all this time with Ygritte and cut his desperate ride with the Halfhand through glaciers and deep forests to escape the wildlings.

      Otherwise, because my post seems to be solely ranting, I have to say that I adore the show and have a huge faith in season 5 !
      There are some things that irk me, of course, but overall, I think D&D are doing a fantastic job.

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    131. I really enjoyed your post, slimchicken. It’s great to be able to get another Unsullied’s perspective. I tend to be fairly easy-going about the changes, probably in part because I started the series as an Unsullied. Btw – did you know one of Watcher on the Wall’s fearless leaders, Oz of Thrones, is Unsullied, too?

      Anyway, to touch on a couple of your questions/comments, I think one of the big arguments against Craster’s and the raid on the Dreadfort is those scenes, some felt, took time away from other elements which were omitted, but could have been introduced, instead. The same could be said of the Beetles dialogue, as I remember reading some thinking the time which was taken with that could have been used for the Tysha moment. I’m sure you’ll get more specific and passionate responses regarding those points, and others, from those who had profound problems with them. Mine’s just a summary from someone who, while I could see some of the points those who were truly upset with those elements raised, try not to get too upset over changes/departures from the books, although I do think some are more successful than others.

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    132. Arkash,

      Hey, thanks. I’m all for speeding things up! In all seriousness, that makes a lot of sense and quite a different perspective than most I’ve read. I’m not quite as familiar with the Halfhand issue (though I am moderately aware of the change). I think it must be particularly challenging handling characters like Jon, who actually have a very rich and involved story.

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    133. slimchicken:
      Arkash,

      Hey, thanks. I’m all for speeding things up! In all seriousness, that makes a lot of sense and quite a different perspective than most I’ve read. I’m not quite as familiar with the Halfhand issue (though I am moderately aware of the change). I think it must be particularly challenging handling characters like Jon, who actually have a very rich and involved story.

      Well, especially his book 5 material… that’s why he may end up damn late on the rest of the story !
      We still need to have his last three chapters (well, a Sam one and 2 Jon) from Storm and his entire Dance arc which is damn heavy (I mean really, so much stuff happens in those chapters), so I’m dreading what they’ll choose to cut… except if, once again this season, they end up his arc a couple chapters before his end material (which seems likely, actually).

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    134. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Wow, must be more than a little challenging managing a site like this while remaining Unsullied.

      Thanks for the response and for summing up the general issues. I guess those complaints are understandable. My concern with that general line of thinking, however, is that it easily drifts into a situation where anything that’s created specifically for the show is useless by definition because it comes at the expense of something in the book. That’s not a very good baseline for strong adaptation, in my estimation.

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    135. Don’t know if I appreciate the premise of this article but it does get discussion going. Afraid the main suckiness this year will be in Dorne but we shall see.

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    136. Arkash,

      Interesting. Jon’s character (and story) have become much more compelling for me the last season or so. Found most of the stuff at the Wall early on a little un-engaging, to be honest. Now all of a sudden there are a million things going on. Hope they juggle it well, as you say.

      As for me, I’m just along for the ride. But I will be super pissed if they cut Tom Bombadil. (Did I do that right 😉 )

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    137. slimchicken,

      That’s not a view to which I subscribe, but there are some who do. I think more lie somewhere in between, with a spectrum within that.

      I do agree with Arkash in that I would have happily a little less time with Jon and Ygritte for more time with Jon and The Halfhand. On that note, I hope you decide to read the books, at some point. If you’ve made it this far in the show without reading them, imo, you may as well wait until the show is over, but they are so very, very worth reading. It’s like the show is a sketch, and the books are the complete picture. Please don’t think my saying the show is a sketch is a negative comment, either. The show is what led me to finally reading the books, and I think D&D have done an extraordinary job with a seemingly almost impossible task.

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    138. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      Thanks. I do intend to read the books at some point. The books are almost always better than the shows adapted from them. I decided early on to wait until the show was over before digging in – primarily because the book series isn’t finished and didn’t seem like it would be before the end of the HBO run.

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    139. slimchicken,

      Of all the changes you listed, only the Tysha – Tyrion – Jaime change bothered me. (Thought Yara change was sort of useless but didn’t really matter. All others were fine.). The Tysha lie that Jaime tells Tyrion underlines and exposes how horrible Tywin can be – not just in his story to Tyrion but involving Jaime in his manipulations. Also, the motivations for Tyrion’s actions are crystal clear in the original scenario. The way it went down on the show seemed strained.

      As to the Hound, it is very similar to the book other than book Hound is dying from infection rather than a beating. Thought that really got to the same place with Arya’s reaction.

      Appreciate your thoughtful approach to the show and these posts. You will really enjoy Oz’s articles and interpretations!

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    140. Patchy Face,

      Thanks. I understand the frustration there. Even without having read the book, that story and motivation is clearly superior. I just wonder how well it would have played on television. Seems like so much of that has to be built up in back story and internal monologue. Suited perfectly for a novel, I just wonder about television. Maybe I’m wrong. Could very easily be.

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    141. slimchicken,

      You’re right, it kind of goes without saying the books are almost always better than the show/movie (even when the show/movie is great). Speaking of which, the Bombadil comment was perfect. 🙂

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    142. slimchicken,

      The Wall is probably the most interesting location right now in the show. Jon, Samwell, Stannis, Davos, Melisandre, Janos, Alliser, Mance, Tormund, Shireen, & Aemon. It has to be the most visited location this season. King’s Landing was the focal point of the first 4 seasons, but most of the characters there are either dead or out of the city. The Wall took over last season as they best location of the show.

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    143. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      I disagree. Books are aren’t almost always better. Books are better at getting the inner thoughts of characters. Almost everything else is better on the screen. Movies and Television are better at capturing the actions of the characters. The Battle of Blackwater was far superior visually then anything GRRM did or could have written.

      A book has words. Movies & Television have music, sound effects, nonverbal communication from the actors. There is so much more information that can be translated from this medium that books can’t come close to touching.

      The Red Wedding was very hard to read in ASOS. GRRM could have written a million words about the RW and none of it could compare to the visual of watching Robb Stark get stabbed. And nothing in literature can describe the scream of Cat Stark watching her son be killed in front of her during the show. That scream we heard is far superior to the book format.

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    144. slimchicken,
      Is this the first time an Unsullied has used spoiler tags? heh-heh.

      How do you know about Tysha? (eyebrows-raised) In any case, while the Tyrion-Jaime-Orson-beetle-Khuu-Khuu scene did have an impact on me as well, it would have worked better if it wasn’t so chummy. If the secret of Tysha would have been brought up after the Orson metaphor, it would have twisted the brotherly bond to great effect, imho. Tyrion & Jaime should not have left each other on good terms. Not only does his champion fail him and Shae betray him, but Tyrion gets punched by the fact that his father & brother have been lying to him for decades. There’s a reason for kinslaying.

      Oh well, Tywin and Shae are dead, so the universe has re-aligned, sort-of.

      Regarding LS….now we’ve got to justify LS’s relevance to the Unsullied too? No fair. 🙂

      Cheers!

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    145. The Bastard,

      I think it is a matter of personal taste. You stated yours very clearly, and I can understand that perspective. I’ve always preferred books. I like to be able to visualize things my own way and let my imagination take over. Now, there have been instances when what I’ve seen on the screen is almost exactly as I’ve imagined, my imagination come to life, if you will. Those moments are magic. Even when it’s different that what I’ve imagined, I can still quite enjoy someone else’s interpretation. Overall, I love Game of Thrones. It’s one of the only shows I watch, and certainly the only show for which I set aside the time to watch as it airs. Still, though, I will almost always prefer a book over a film or show, but that’s just my personal preference.

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    146. In my opinion the only way season 5 would suck is if there are too many new characters, Jon trying to improve public relations with the wildlings, Stannis gets lost in the snow, Dany’s hippy phase of not using her weapons of mass destruction because she is a queen and she must rule, waste time on sex scenes, too much Cersei, Not enough Hot Pie, no Missendei nude scenes, and according to most book readers any scene that did not happen in the books.

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    147. Why are people saying there’s a lot of Jon material left to be adapted? Apart from him becoming LC, recruiting the wildlings, the beheading of a particular character and the cliffhanger, the rest can be jettisoned (lists of food, lists of food, lists of this, lists of that).

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    148. I expect the season to be good; I hope it’s better than Season 4, which – along with quite a bit of good stuff – had a some weak moments, some low-quality and needless added plotlines (everything with Craster’s Keep), some huge moments from the book that lacked the proper impact in the show (particularly Lysa’s murder) and one all-out horrible moment that almost ruined the show for me entirely (you know the one, in Episode 3).

      I don’t agree at all that we’re done all of the big moments of the show, or that this season is in danger of being boring. Arya’s storyline is interesting in and of itself, especially if speeded up a little; if it comes off poorly in the book, that’s entirely the fault of Martin’s writing. There are huge scenes coming up for Dany and Cersei, and Cersei’s entire storyline this season has the potential to be amazing, especially with the additional nuance that Weiss and Benioff have given to the character of Cersei relative to the books, plus the extra development they’ve given to Margaery. Tyrion’s plotline is likely to have more direction and progress than in the books (granted, that’s a low bar).

      The Sansa storyline and the Jaime storyline, which will be almost entirely original material, have the potential be either good or very bad. Jon’s storyline concerns me, because he hasn’t built up the level of seriousness, or the level of respect from his fellows in the Night’s Watch, that he had in the equivalent point in the book, and that could severely damage future developments. That said, he was impressive in “The Watchers on the Wall”.

      On the whole, though, I think condensing the two books into one season and cutting out a lot of the extraneous material (such as the Iron Islands plotline and elements of Tyrion’s story) will be good for the show, and I hope the original storylines don’t drag down the characters. I certainly don’t expect a trainwreck.

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    149. Marc:
      Will this be the make-or-break season of the show? If showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss can pull off adapting the tricky fourth and fifth books – as well as start to introduce more and more elements from the sixth.

      Shylah:
      ….That being said, next season will definitely be a different sort of challenge for the show….

      Speaking of challenges for S5….we should mention the possible effect of the new cadre of directors in the mix. Imho, “Act II” is an ideal time in the series for change in directing perspective. As much as Sakharov, MacLaren, Marshall, Graves and others brought ASoI&F to screen life before, this season needs to feel different.

      While the new batch of directors are fresh to GoT (except for Nutter), they have excellent credentials (from Breaking Bad to Boardwalk Empire to Fringe). I have already noticed a difference in the look and feel of some of the shots in the trailer. Some of the low angles threw me, the lighting seemed crisper, the images seem fuller…I’m starting to see what they mean by “bigger and better”… seems like they got upgraded filming equipment as well.

      Given that Michael Slovis has won an Emmy for outstanding cinematography for CSI, I am expecting a unique attention to detail in the first two episodes…and I think the close-up shots of blood dripping from a thumb, drunk Tyrion falling out of trunk, etc have his mark all over them. I am also fascinated by the close up shot of a (dying?) Son of the Harpy in the streets of Meereen. Something eerie about it that is very appealing. I’m always interested in the details, like the dangling hand above Tyrion and Varys, lots of sky and sea in the background, looming cliffs, Varys’ pointy shoes, mist at the gates, etc. Fun!

      Just wanted to point out that there is whole heck of a lot more going on than new storylines in this season. In more ways than one, it marks a serious transition in tone and effect. Definitely a risk as many have stated, but hopefully a unique ride.

      (I can’t stop watching the damn HD trailer)

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    150. The more fan fiction D & D introduce into the show, the more it will suck. Season 4 took a nosedive because of this. I mean just look at that Asha/Yara prison breakout scene, it was an abomination of epic proportions.

      I am not saying no changes should be made at all, I just wish D & D could be a little more restrained with their machete.

      Leaving out Arianne Martell, Victarion Greyjoy and Euron Greyjoy is really going to harm the future of this show. Those are great characters that could reinvigorate the show. But instead we’re getting more made characters that bring nothing to the table.

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    151. Arkash,

      No,it doesn’t ,apart from the beginning and the end chapters,there’s a bunch of filler that could be dispensed,i certainly don’t want to see 6 whole episodes of Bowen Marsh telling Jon how low on food they are and how bad are Stannis and the wildingsfor a million times like how it happened in Dance ,that for me just isn’t interesting material .

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    152. The Bastard:
      Nymeria Warrior Queen,

      The Red Wedding was very hard to read in ASOS.GRRM could have written a million words about the RW and none of it could compare to the visual of watching Robb Stark get stabbed. And nothing in literature can describe the scream of Cat Stark watching her son be killed in front of her during the show.That scream we heard is far superior to the book format.

      Finally someone write it! I think the show is much much better than the books.

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    153. What I’m gleaning from the comments is that everyone has favourite characters and they are all so diversified! No one wants to see his/her favourites get shortchanged and when they are out of necessity people tend to get very upset. I have believed all along that any characters deemed unnecessary to the end story will probably be cut, which makes the introduction of made-up characters like Talisa and Ros questionable, but there was a reason for them or so we have been told. My argument would seem to be incorrect when Tywin’s screen time was actually extended (the made-up scenes between him and Arya) because he does not live past Book Three. However, Tywin was a necessary character because of the motivation for his children to be who they are. Still, I think the show’s producers pander to certain actors that they deem wonderful and I hate this because it seems so belittling to George’s books and all the other characters and actors who will be essential to the end. Therefore I sincerely hope that certain storylines from ADWD especially, are not sacrificed. I very much liked ADWD as a book. It seemed to set up so many interesting plotlines, i.e. at Winterfell, in Meereen, the Citadel, Braavos and most especially, at the Wall. I was less interested in Book Four with its endless Cersei bullshit. But see, just like everyone else, I am invested in certain characters and detest some others. And this is why I anxiously await Season Five and will avidly watch it until the last credits roll, rooting for my favourite characters to get the screen time and justification for their existence that they deserve.

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    154. Great post! I’ve truly enjoyed watching every season of GoT and can “deal with” the changes made to the story except Lady Talisa. She also makes me cringe. I remember seeing GRRM speak at ComicCon and Jeyne Westerling. I believe he said that she is the POV for the prologue in WoW. If that is the case then they definitely will have some splainin’ to do!

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    155. I believe GRRM said Jeyne Westerling is “in” the prologue, not that it’s her P.O.V.

      But if it is her P.O.V., I doubt D&D would have to to do much”‘splainin'” given the track record with previous P.O.V. characters (Will, Maester Cressen, Chett, etc.); though I haven’t read FfC or DwD, so maybe those prologues end differently.

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    156. King Stannis,

      I agree, Personally, I’m all for Sansa taking LS place. Seeing the former “Little Bird” at the command of a host of Vale knights would be thrilling just in visual form. While LS just takes a massive dump all over the pain & agony of the Red Wedding. It’s like, “Oh, don’t worry, the characters can come back. All them tears for naught, folks!”

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    157. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Ha, I guess I’m a Sullied Unsullied. Never really been afraid of being spoiled by book reader comments.

      I completely understand the issues readers have with the Tysha omission. As I wrote somewhere else, the story as I understand it is better as told and more impactful. I am however unconvinced it could have been properly set up in the show to have the same ultimate effect, given that it would all have to be explained in conversation and exposition rather than through actions of present characters. I, of course, could be wrong.

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    158. Pete…:
      I believe GRRM said Jeyne Westerling is “in” the prologue, not that it’s her P.O.V.

      But if it is her P.O.V., I doubt D&D would have to to do much”‘splainin’” given the track record with previous P.O.V. characters (Will, Maester Cressen, Chett, etc.); though I haven’t read FfC or DwD, so maybe those prologues end differently.

      You’re right. I just watched it again. He said she is in the prologue.

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    159. Morgoth:
      Why are people saying there’s a lot of Jon material left to be adapted? Apart from him becoming LC, recruiting the wildlings, the beheading of a particular character and the cliffhanger, the rest can be jettisoned (lists of food, lists of food, lists of this, lists of that).

      – Election and Winterfell offer.
      – Advising Stannis in his campaign.
      – His relationship with Melisandre !
      – Making plans for Aemon, Sam and Gilly.
      – Organizing the wildlings south of the Wall and collect taxes.
      – Re-maning some abandoned NW forts.
      – Taking care of the food supplies.
      – Dealing with the Iron Bank.
      – Dealing with the growing mutiny within his ranks.
      – More Jon / Melisandre.
      – Sending a team (Mance ?) to Winterfell.
      – Planning the Hardhome rescue.
      – Hiring wildlings to assist the Watch and training the new recruits.
      – Keeping the Queen’s Men, the Wildlings and the Watch from ripping each other’s throat.
      – Jon / Mel !!!!!!

      Jon still has a hell lot of material to cover and I wish all I’ve stated above to feature in season 5 !

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    160. Arkash:
      Jon still has a hell lot of material to cover and I wish all I’ve stated above to feature in season 5 !

      Most of that can be streamlined, or entirely cut (like the training stuff, the taxes, the constant reminders from Melisandre about “daggers in the dark”, the Queen’s men/wildlings/Night’s Watch bickering, especially the food supplies).

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    161. Really when it comes to adapting the show and making things compelling, there are a few main issues that people want to see, and that make for the best of the show. People like to talk a lot about “character arcs,” but each season usually only features one or two contained compelling character arcs for that season — the best examples probably being Dany (Season 1), Theon (Season 2), Sansa (Season 4), Jaime (Season 3) and Tyrion (Season 4). In a sense, to me the most satisfying arc over the longer period of the show’s run has been Samwell Tarly.

      So with that in mind, the things that matter most for Season 5:

      –Interesting character arcs that help form a spine to the season: Best bets here are probably Jon, Cersei, and Arya, and we’ll have to see how it goes for Dany, Sansa and Tyrion. Many of the others are operating within plot development, and while their characters remain interesting, we don’t get “growth and change” in a lot of them. In many ways, Ned Stark’s downfall doesn’t even serve as an “arc” given he as a person doesn’t show a lot of change – his story is almost a gumshoe story/man over his head/private eye kind of deal, rather than an “arc.” Even Tyrion in Season 1 doesn’t have much of an arc – he’s an awesome irritant at the beginning, and an awesome irritant + new friend + new whore/girlfriend at the end. I worry less about this aspect. Cersei, Jon and Dany dealing with their respective leadership roles will give the show a healthy spine.

      –Awesome conversations between characters we love. The show has always had this in spades. It won’t fail this year, not when we have Sansa/Littlefinger, Varys/Tyrion (!), Jaime/Bronn (!!), Melisandre/Jon/Anybody, Arya/Anybody, and whatever else we end up with.

      –Great WTF setpieces. In the past we’ve had some predictable b/c they were in the books (RW, Hound vs. Beric, PW, Blackwater, “Crown for a king,” “Baelor!”, Watchers on the Wall, The Mountain vs Viper, “Dracarys”) and some less predictable (“Why is that White Walker walking through the snow…what’s he doing with that baby…wait what WTFOMGWTFWTFWTF,” Hound Vs. Brienne, Tywin melts down the swords, Tywin yells at Cersei/Tyrion at end of “Kissed by Fire,” Theon burns the letter, Theon’s speech before getting a clunk on the head, Theon executes Ser Rodrik, Ygritte’s death).

      What do we have this year? A bunch already that should give us some chills:

      1. The Pit 2. The Walk of Shame 3. “Edd, fetch me a block.” (How many of you don’t think we’re going to get that as an episode-ending moment? Deed done, Jon turns, stares down his NW brethren…chills…) 4. “Vengeance. Justice. Fire and Blood.” 5. The Harpy comes down off the pyramid 5. Jorah Pit-fighting 6. The Stone Men! 7. Hardholme (!!), and who knows what else. There’s a LOT to draw from.

      A sense of the endgame. This is the only thing I worry about – that we won’t have a good sense of where this is all going and how we reach a conclusion by end Season 7.

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    162. Al Swearengen,

      Have you read the last 2 books? They need to take more then a machete in order to make them watchable.

      And there are already too many story lines to add both Dorne and The Iron Islands. It would take too much time away from the already established characters. That is what happened in the books and it is a huge reason why a lot of people don’t like them. TV has to stick to the main story arcs of the past 4 seasons.

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    163. Arkash,

      agreed here. Jon has a lot of material that’s important in his growth, and if they add Hardholme, it’s even more. Dealing with Stannis alone is enough to take up several episodes given what a hard-ass Stannis is. That’s a very, very compelling aspect of this coming year. Jon’s decisions, and the way in which some members of the NW handle it, eventually lead to important things. And so even one scene, where Jon agrees to let the Wildlings in and give them food, is enough to sow discord. Even one scene where he agrees to let Stannis garrison several castles is important. His having to come to terms with what Stannis wants while still also satisfying others is a big part of it. Plus conversations with Sam, Melisandre, Aemon. He’s got a great great amount to do this year, and arguably some of the best of what the show has to offer.

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    164. Renly’s Peach: Sharks are superior to dinosaurs, though. It is known.
      They have multiple rows of teeth. And scary faces.

      If you are on a beach with a Tyrannosaur to your left and a beached shark to your right, in which direction do you run? If you want the equivalent of a shark on land, you ditch the fins, gills, etc., and you use legs, lungs, etc. If the feathers confuse you, well, that’s because life on land spawns different things. The literary -> cinematic change requires similar shifts. Otherwise, you get the first two Harry Potter films: something that flops weakly for a bit and then starts to just stink horribly.

      TheTouchOfFrost: On the point of name changes, still unsure why Asha had to become Yara. Asha and
      are spelt and pronounced differently. Yet again, do they think people are really that dumb?!

      Intelligence has nothing to do with it: hearing does. Soft vowels sound very similar to a lot of people, particularly coming from unfamiliar accents. One of the basic differences between a lot of accents is how they inflect soft-vowels, after all: and there are a lot of different accents on this show!

      At any rate, I know that I would not be able to distinguish *sha easily at all: I definitely am one of those people to whom soft-vowels all sound the same.

      As for the Jeyne issue, I read that Martin suggested that they change the name given that they were using a completely different character. On TV, it’s the face that gets tied to a character, not a name: and having another “Jane” (say) this year would not be an issue. At any rate, they would have changed the name of the second Jane.

      TheTouchOfFrost: Dinosaurs are extinct. Sharks are not!

      Well, except for the birds, of course. So, amend the above: the Doctor snags you, you both jump onto a Cretaceous beach with a shark to your right and a Tyrannosaur to your left. Which way do you run? (I can tell you which way the Doctor backpedals: he’d be keen on watching the T. rex!)

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    165. slimchicken: I am however unconvinced it could have been properly set up in the show to have the same ultimate effect, given that it would all have to be explained in conversation and exposition rather than through actions of present characters.

      I think that you are correct. In the book, “Sam” is denoted by S-A-M. People talking about him (or her) brings that character to the same way as it does Bill when the author writes: “Bill sighed and muttered: ‘Sam would have kicked your ass for saying that.'”

      On TV or film, you have a much more limited window where “Sam” connects the audience to the face of actor/actress playing our hypothetical character. But that means that Sam really has to be cast and shown recently to carry the impact.

      As it was, I do not think that the TV audience had any problem understanding why Tyrion so loathed his father. The show made quite a big deal about how hard Tyrion worked to be accepted by his family and to be considered a valuable asset to the family. Add to this that the show made it clear that Tyrion was genuinely in love with Shae (and that Shae actually was a woman worthy of being loved, which she was not in the books), and there was more than enough there. Despite everything Tyrion did, his father helped frame him and then stole his beloved. (Which, incidentally, is a general description of what the book did, too!)

      As such, I doubt that any more people were “confused” by this than there were people who were confused by the Witch King died in Return of the King. (Some Tolkien fans will tell you that everyone was, of course….)

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    166. Wimsey:
      As such, I doubt that any more people were “confused” by this than there were people who were confused by the Witch King died in Return of the King.(Some Tolkien fans will tell you that everyone was, of course….)

      Well…no man could kill the Witch King. 😉

      Valar Morghulis! Words are wind….

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    167. Hodor’s Bastard: Well…no man killed the Witch King.

      Oh, you are on that side of the debate, are you?!?! I knew you were a heretic…..

      (For those confused, whether it was Merry or Eowyn who killed the Witch-King is a hotly debated topic among Tolkien fans, causing as much enmity and strife as whether Balrogs had wings or what color Legolas’ hair was.)

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    168. Wimsey,

      And everyone knows what the real color Legolas’ hair is. Dark my ass! “The majority of Sindar elves”. It means there were exceptions, like his father! I shall hear no more of this dark-haired Legolas.

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    169. Tormund’s Woman,
      but… but….. what if he dyed his hair to fit in with the other Sindar?!?!?

      Rygar,
      A true hero. The movies shouldn’t have cut Fatty: they should have embellished his role!

      (Actually, he wasn’t cut: you can hear Bilbo greeting Fatty Bolger in the extended edition.)

      slimchicken,
      Well, that rules you out as any of my ex-girlfriends….. 🙂

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    170. I’ve told the “Talisa” story before but I’ll put it here again because a lot of people seem to get it wrong. This is from the mouth of GRRM and D&D themselves so it’s the definitive accounting.

      When mapping out S2, D&D decided that they wanted a Jeyne to be Robb’s wife but not Jeyne Westerling (early casting releases had Oona Chaplin listed as simply “Jeyne”, no last name).

      I’ll put my speculation here that they wanted Robb to fall for someone he shouldn’t have but for it not to be from a Lannister-pledged house to get away from the Romeo and Juliet component of the story. It could also be for the reason that they didn’t want to go down the route of introducing her parents into the mix which probably has to happen if he follows the book route by staying in the household and has the family nurse him while he’s injured.

      In any case, the writing further evolves and D&D determine that they want Jeyne to be from Volantis (most likely because they know they want to cover it off down the line and thought this could be some shorthand to provide background).

      Once this has been determined, Martin told them if she was going to be from Volantis, then they’d need to change the name because no one from th
      ere would ever be called Jeyne. So, Talisa was chosen.

      Nothing more nefarious than that I promise.

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    171. King Tommen: Once this has been determined, Martin told them if she was going to be from Volantis, then they’d need to change the name because no one from there would ever be called Jeyne. So, Talisa was chosen.

      That makes a lot of sense, and it’s consistent (if more detailed) with what I had read before. Westerosian names tend to be very similar to English names. Even if they are not identical, then they tend to sound familiar. So, giving the foreigner a very different sounding name made sense.

      Avoiding the Romeo & Juliet motif probably is just as wise. It is a nice enough motif: but it’s also been used a lot.

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    172. Regarding LS’s storyline in the last two books, I subscribe to elements of the Grand Northern Conspiracy (but not the entire thing about crowning King Jon Stark by any means) and I think that there’s plenty of evidence that LS and the BWB plans to put the hurt on the Lannisters and Freys big time in Winds.

      The BWB singer Tom of Seven Streams is a spy in the Lannister camps at Riverrun and he’s near Jaime when Jaime tells Edmure of his plans to move him to Casterly Rock, near Jaime when he instructs one of the Freys to bring all of the prisoners held in the Twins to King’s Landing and present when the Freys plan a Frey wedding in Riverrun. The BWB has already attacked the previous Frey commander when he was heading back to The Twins (keep your eye on Jeyne’s crown) and I think that they’re going to free Edmure and Jeyne on their way to Casterly Rock (possibly in the prologue), free the Northern and Riverlands prisoners on their way to King’s Landing and stage their own Red Wedding in Riverrun. With all of their hostage family members freed, the Northerners and Riverlanders won’t have to play nice with the Lannisters, Boltons and Freys anymore.

      If that’s what GRRM has cooking, I’d say that would put the hurt on the Lannisters, wouldn’t you?

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    173. Wimsey,

      Never had a difference differntiating them myself plus it was unlikely anyone was going to confuse the two characters.
      Dinosaurs are dinosaurs and birds are birds. If you want to go down that route then humans are gibbons by the same logic.

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    174. Tormund’s Woman:
      Wimsey,

      And everyone knows what the real color Legolas’ hair is. Dark my ass! “The majority of Sindar elves”. It means there were exceptions, like his father! I shall hear no more of this dark-haired Legolas.

      Ents are jealous of Legolas’ roots.

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    175. Darren,

      Interesting. Hopefully there is some Frey/Lannister destabilization and infiltration in the works, with the BwB in the mix. In my dreams, I want an LS PoV when it happens. 🙂

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    176. TheTouchOfFrost: Dinosaurs are dinosaurs and birds are birds. If you want to go down that route then humans are gibbons by the same logic.

      By this logic humans and gibbons are both apes (“hominoids” in the official lingo). Birds and tyrannosaurids are dinosaurs by the same logic: that’s why birds have been classified in the Dinosauria for decades. Indeed, the group including them and dinosaurs like T. rex is even is even called the avetheropods! (Baby tyrannosaurids had downy feathers, which must have been terribly cute.)

      The family trees of reptiles aside, if you want to adapt a vertebrate to tell the same ecological “story” that a shark does, then you would be hard pressed to do a better job than evolution did when the large theropods roamed the Earth. This same general principle is one that screenplay writers need to have in their heads when adapting stories from literature to screen: the different media have demands and limitations as different as those for marine and terrestrial life. Once you toss a shark on land, it’s food, not hunter: and historically cinematic versions of stories that didn’t alter the original “fish” enough to let it be a land-shark had similar fates.

      (On a side note, I like that the dragons here are proper tetrapods, with wings for arms, rather than having four legs and separate wings.)

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    177. Emperor Cronos:
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2015/02/01/hbo-needs-to-finish-game-of-thrones-with-or-without-george-r-r-martin/

      I’ll just leave this here, since I agree completely with it.

      Obviously the Forbes writer is not a true fan of fantasy and fails at reading comprehension, or he was possibly addled by a miasma of entitlement. He and all the other so-called professional reviewers who bagged on the masterpiece of the genre are really grasping at straws. Haters.

      I much prefer Lev Grossman’s reviews of Mr. Martin’s works. He somehow managed to put aside his personal and professional relationship with Mr. Martin to give spot-on reviews that readers can trust. It’s amazing that an employee of TIME Inc., which held HBO as a subsidiary while the GOT hype train fired up its boilers, was still able to provide his unvarnished opinion on the matters of fantasy Literature.

      Bravo.

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    178. Darren,
      My suspicion is that

      Aegon’s arrival and Daeny’s subsequent return will sweep all of that away. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Brotherhood does wind up siding with one of the two Targaryens: but then, which one? Other Red Priests have been getting messages about Daeny, and it’s probable that Melisandre has been misinterpreting R’hllor’s messages about Daeny, so we shouldn’t be surprised if Thoros starts seeing signs to support a Targaryen.

      But as for the Lannisters, I suspect that Cersei will do them in. It is entirely probable that she will be back in some power thanks to Varys manipulations: and that will mean she will be retaliating against the Church and the Tyrells, which will just drive them back to one Targaryen or the other. Indeed, if it is Kevan who champions the Church against Ser Strong, then the remnants of the Lannisters might turn on Cersei as well. As such, the Lannisters will just collapse with or without the Brotherhood doing anything.

      Hodor’s Bastard,
      Yeah, my guess is that we’ll only get that in some Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead style “fan-fiction.”

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    179. Cumsprite: Obviously the Forbes writer is not a true fan of fantasy and fails at reading comprehension, or he was possibly addled by a miasma of entitlement. He and all the other so-called professional reviewers who bagged on the masterpiece of the genre are really grasping at straws. Haters.

      Seriously. Just who does he think he is? Complaining about GRRM not being able to finish before HBO? Saying ADWD is full of fluff? Heresy!
      Neil Gaiman should tell him that GRRM isn’t his bitch.

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    180. When speaking about the book paths for characters and where they’ll end up, I haven’t seen much speculation on what’s going to happen to cute little Tommen.

      Eventually, even if there is an end game that doesn’t include an Iron Throne to rule, Tommen will be overthrown by someone. Will Martin stay true to historical form and have the most likely fate of the deposed king be by death (probably a horrible one)?

      That’s going to be hard to stomach for even the more staunch Lannisters-must-all-suffer fans.

      Oh and BTW, Tommen being older on the show means this isn’t quite as traumatic. In fact, I stumbled on a sneak peak of his death that they must have filmed ahead of time. Watch:

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    181. Sorry, I pretty much skipped everything in the main and the comments other than getting the gist of the topic. What I did read was giving me a feeling there’s a lot of a pessimistic view within.

      I’ll just say that I hope they’re using a version of the chronologically ordered Feast and Dance moving forward, which they should be. When these two are put in order I believe they’re much more interesting and the length of ‘time’ between the more interesting plot points doesn’t feel so spread out, making for a more exciting story to film.

      Some people think the show has done some things different from the books that haven’t been good or a good idea. My counter is always that there are parts of the books that aren’t very good or exciting as well. One of my personal dislikes is just about anything Dorne related, especially when there’s too much of it at once. If they’re set on filming portions of the Dorne storyline, which they obviously are, then anything they can do to ‘spice’ that up is more than welcome to me.

      There is a lot of very good spread throughout the remaining published material that if used this season will prevent it from being anywhere close to “suck.” In fact, a couple of the character storylines are at the point when they become some of my favorite parts of ASoIaF. While the amount in the books remaining so far for Arya is sparse, what is there is the best of her written material and an element I’m really looking forward to. On the better-in-the-show side (for me), the book Stannis/Davos pages bored me much of the time. I feel they’ve improved that line some and what they have left for them is also the parts I enjoyed the most.

      While I may become a little disappointed if they cut ‘major’ things from the books, I don’t generally mind mild changes from them either. It’s the same characters in the same world ultimately moving toward the same goals. The books don’t cover every second of each characters movements so I can always pretend anything different is something done inbetween those times. 😉

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    182. Wimsey,

      I don’t see why there isn’t time for both. Like I said, I don’t believe in the entire Grand Northern Conspiracy. I think that it’s a bunch of small, accurate theories built on accurate foreshadowing and then smashed together into a clunky master theory that’s full of plot holes. I don’t see any reason why LS / BWB couldn’t take those actions and free up the Northerners and Riverlords to revolt against the Boltons and Freys (the hostages are pretty much the only reason that they aren’t doing that already) and then side with one of the Targs when they’re no longer under the Lannister’s thumbs (especially if siding with the Targs would help destroy the Lannisters). IF they were planning on crowning Jon, news of his death would push them towards a new king / queen anyway, pushing them towards one of the “Dragons that we knelt to”.

      Cersei’s actions (just finished the rough-draft of an essay about my Season 5 expectations for her storyline, actually… lol) will certainly ensure that the Lannisters won’t be in power by the end of Winds (my wild-ass guess is that Aegon marries Arianne and ends up on the Iron Throne just as Dany lands in Westeros for the new Dance of the Dragons), but the fall of the Lannister puppets can happen independent of her direct actions.

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    183. King Tommen: Will Martin stay true to historical form and have the most likely fate of the deposed king be by death (probably a horrible one)?

      Somehow I can see him with a golden shroud….

      Darren,
      The big issue is that

      we might not have any protagonists with the BwB: and thus nobody to give us that narrative. LS almost certainly is not going to become a protagonist again: she probably is not really Catelyn anymore, and she certainly is not plagued with the conflicts that Martin demands of his protagonists.

      The first few chapters of WoW indicates that it’s going to be a story about choosing sides. My guess is that Aegon is going to be the huge bomb precipitating this, and that the currently remaining squabbles will get over-ridden (and over-written!) by that.

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    184. Cumsprite,

      Now you’re talking, Mr. Sprite! I thought I lost you there upthread for a second. The Washington Post, L. A. Times and Wall Street Journal were in it with the Times too, giving ADwD all those good to stellar reviews.

      PS. Conspiracy and crackpots are two threads to the right. We welcome even sorry asses such as yours.

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    185. King Tommen:
      Oh and BTW, Tommen being older on the show means this isn’t quite as traumatic. In fact, I stumbled on a sneak peak of his death that they must have filmed ahead of time. Watch:

      Goofball. Heh, heh. I’m a sucker.

      But that wedding scene and the subsequent uncomfortable Marg-Tommen semi-BJ scene at 1:43 in the trailer (WTF?) suggest that this may be a rare mundane wedding after all with a possible bedding, (ewww! Ser Pounce, close your eyes!) Marg’s look during that brief shot suggested a willful rise to power, directed at Cersei most-likely.

      Total crackpot: Although Tommen makes it through his goofy wedding, he doesn’t make it out of the season alive. Tommen=Kevan. He and Pycelle are victims of “little birds” after (during?) Cersei’s walk and …Varys returns to KL to prep for the return of a Targ.

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    186. Hodor’s Bastard,

      Actually, its not total crackpot. With the condensed timeline, it is plausible. I just hate the thought of it. It may be unlikely but I keep hoping that Tommen and Ser Pounce make it out of KL alive.

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    187. mariamb,

      Oh boy.

      I just have a feeling that the opening MtF scene will also set the tone for an absolutely mind-numbing Cersei walk and another prophesy-fulfilling departure in ep10. Poor Ser Pounce!

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    188. Tormund’s Woman:
      Cumsprite,

      Now you’re talking, Mr. Sprite! I thought I lost you there upthread for a second. The Washington Post, L. A. Times and Wall Street Journal were in it with the Times too, giving ADwD all those good to stellar reviews.

      PS. Conspiracy and crackpots are two threads to the right. We welcome even sorry asses such as yours.

      All well and good. I singled out Martin’s buddy, Lev Grossman, because he’s the guy who slapped “The American Tolkien” on Martin. His head is so far up Martin’s ass it’s up ___________’s ass.

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    189. I think LSH will use Jaime Lannister to stage a massacre at the Twins killing every Frey, hell just killing everyone there no matter who. I watched an interview with GRRM where he talks about a massacre of a christian offshoot religion that got massacred along with innocents and was the origin for the line let god sort them out. Which gave me the idea that hes definitely thinking of something like that because he brought it up out of nowhere and the brotherhood are the only ones i can see doing something like that. I also think Arya will be sent to kill LSH. The House of Black and White definitely looks down on bringing people back from the dead so anyone who has been resurrected is a target. I see LSH as a tragic figure and I dont understand why people say it cheapens death to me it was a fate worse than death. I think Arya’s fate has been tied closely to death and LSH is the embodiment of death and vengeance which ties in to Arya’s arc and it would be the most bittersweet ending that LSH finally sees her daughter is alive and Arya ends up being the one releasing her and giving her peace at last kind of like the scene with the hound except she actually gives her the gift of mercy. The only hole i see in this is that the faceless men dont senD their assassins to kill someone they know but maybe arya will go off on her own and still reach the same conclusion. I definetly see some kind of bittersweet ending for LSH in the future which is why i really dont want her to be cut, she will definetly see one of her children again before she dies permanently. The character reminds me of something out of a greek tragedy but people keep saying no its just a zombie like the walking dead and a gimmick.

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    190. Wimsey,

      It could all happen in the prologue (which doesn’t require a protaganist that survives) or “off-camera” and reported as events in other storylines that do have protaganists (like Robb’s war in the Westerlands in ACoK). We know that Jeyne Westerling is included in the prologue, so it’s possible that her chapter involves one aspect of the rescue mission. The rest could be something that Cersei hears about when news reaches King’s Landing or something that another character hears about second-hand.

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    191. Wimsey:
      Tormund’s Woman,
      but… but…..what if he dyed his hair to fit in with the other Sindar?!?!?

      You’ve crossed a line there, Wimsey. I won’t forget that.

      slimchicken,

      Just goes to show you how different people who watch the show without reading the books are too!

      I got the “what was THAT?!” reaction after the Carster’s ep from Unsullied friends. The repeat near-miss between brothers bothered them terribly. It is understandable really, since the show has done that before with the exact same characters and with the same result. Yet they expected something different. One was sure Jon will be joining his brother North! LOL Unsullied. Gotta love him.

      I personally thought they could have done so much more with Locke. The actor and character could have been used later on with proper handling. And I could not care less for the Legend of Gin Alley. So I think the extra gang rape and the Gin Alley guy’s monolog was just bad. But it is done, no sense in dwelling on it.

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    192. Cumsprite: All well and good. I singled out Martin’s buddy, Lev Grossman, because he’s the guy who slapped “The American Tolkien” on Martin. His head is so far up Martin’s ass it’s up ___________’s ass.

      Can I buy a vowel?

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    193. Wimsey,

      *sigh* Dinosaurs and birds are different. They are called different names and are different classes of animals.
      The sun rises in the east.

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    194. Morgoth,
      I suspect that he’s been

      amalgamated with Arianne into Trystane.

      TheTouchOfFrost: *sigh* Dinosaurs and birds are different. They are called different names and are different classes of animals.

      Only if you are using a biology text book from 1970 or so! Birds have been classified as a subgroup of dinosaurs since the mid 1970’s. (The more “traditional” classifications make them an order with the class Dinosauria; however, more modern classifications tend to ignore arbitrary titles like “class” and “order.”) The fact that they are different names means nothing: sauropod and theropod are two different names for two different groups of dinosaurs. It is no different from stating that a pie is a pastry and that a tart is a pastry: the fact that each concept has it’s own word does not make each concept “equal”: some are general ones that include more specific ones.

      That written, I suppose it wouldn’t surprise me too much if more recent text-books had badly outdated information in them….

      Cumsprite: And dinosaurs had feathers.

      Well, some did. It’s not 100% clear that the earliest dinosaurs did. Some people do suspect that the down-like structures on pterosaurs are homologous with what we find on dinosaurs, and if that is the case, then it’s a “primitive” feature on dinosaurs. But even if that is true, then it’s quite possible that many dinosaurs lost the features. (There is no hint of them on dinosaurs distantly related to birds and other theropods, like ceratopsians or hadrosaurs, or even sauropods.)

      Geez, don’t any of you people watch Dinosaur Train? 🙂

      On a GoT note, Kit Harrington evidently thought that Tyrannosaurus sounded a lot less threatening after learning that they had feathers.

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    195. Dinosaur Train! Dinosaur Train! Gonna riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide the Dinosaur Train!

      I like it because they say “poop” a lot.

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    196. Wimsey,

      Just because they evolved from dinosaurs by no means MAKES them dinosaurs – just as humans evolved from apes doesn’t mean we’re apes NOW. Birds have evolved into a different class of animal to their ancestors – they belong to their own class, Aves, whilst dinosaurs were reptiles, belonging to the class Reptilia. We mammals evolved from reptiles too (though not dinosaurs) – if you’re going to call birds dinosaurs, then you may as well call mammals, including humans, reptiles too. Or, since reptiles evolved from amphibians, you might as well call reptiles, birds and mammals amphibians. Or amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals fish, since amphibians evolved from fish. Or, taking it to its logical conclusion, you might as well say all living things are single-celled organisms, since that is the origin of all life on Earth if you go back far enough in time.
      I know you like to argue, but insisting dinosaurs and birds are the same thing? Really?

      Cumsprite,

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    197. Cumsprite,

      I missed the chance of playing hangman! I hate that. I love games. I always participate too. Maybe next time. (Plus I counted 11 lines and that doesn’t match any your usual Martin endearment nicks which I have tried. All of them. I’d have lost this one.)

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    198. This season has the chance to be the weakest one, since it is based on the weakest source material and they need to cram all that material into one season (which I still think is the correct decision).

      Unsullied will be very disappointed with yet another season where Dany hasn’t left to go to Westeros. And Tyrion’s storyline will probably not be as interesting to them as it has been in other seasons. That aside? This has the ability to be a good season. I have faith in the writers/producers of the show.

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    199. Hodor’s Bastard:
      But that wedding scene and the subsequent uncomfortable Marg-Tommen semi-BJ scene at 1:43 in the trailer (WTF?) suggest that this may be a rare mundane wedding after all with a possible bedding, (ewww! Ser Pounce, close your eyes!) Marg’s look during that brief shot suggested a willful rise to power, directed at Cersei most-likely.

      I’m pretty sure that’s Myrcella and Trystane, not Margaery and Tommen. Also, it looks like she’s crying and hugging him, not performing a sex act.

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    200. TaenaOfMyr: since it is based on the weakest source material and they need to cram all that material into one season (which I still think is the correct decision).

      Yes and no. The actual story emerging from the original source material actually is Martin’s most daring story yet. The problem was the delivery: GRRM’s narrative was bloated and I think that he badly overtold the story, particularly with Crows. In a way, this is very comparable to what the Harry Potter team had with Order of the Phoenix: that was in some ways the most interesting story that Rowling delivered, but it was far and away the most poorly presented story that she delivered. (The editors really should have trimmed away about a fifth of that book: but I doubt that Rowling was editable at that point, and I doubt that the publishers wanted to wait an extra 6-12 months before milking that cash cow because it was going to sell millions of copies no matter how bad it was.)

      However, the Order of the Phoenix film ended up to be a pretty good one because it excised a ton of unnecessary stuff the weighed down the book. So, I wait with bated breath here: I see real potential in the Crows/Dragons story, and I’d like to see it told well. I have hope that they’ll succeed in that task.

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    201. Darren,

      I maintain that it is Marg & Tommen and that it is after they get wedded and bedded (with Cersei monitoring). And I was joking about the inappropriate fellatio (Ewww!)

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    202. TheTouchOfFrost: Just because they evolved from dinosaurs by no means MAKES them dinosaurs – just as humans evolved from apes doesn’t mean we’re apes NOW.

      Yes, evolving from dinosaurs makes birds dinosaurs in the minds of biologists, and, yes, we consider humans to be apes, too. After all, chimps are more closely related to us than they are to any other ape, and the group including tyrannosaurids are (or were) more closely related to birds than they were to any other dinosaurs: and that is the basis for how biologists classify things. I had thought that this was pretty commonly known by now!

      (I know that as a biologist, my knowledge is not standard: but all of the popular dinosaur shows like Walking with Dinosaurs make this pretty clear, and it seems to get a lot of publicity every time they find another feathered dinosaur.)

      As for “liking to argue,” it seems that you are the one who likes to argue against standard definitions! Moreover, you seem to miss the concept of hierarchy: to say that birds are dinosaurs (which is true) is not to say that birds and dinosaurs are the same thing (which is false). Birds are a type of dinosaur. Here are three true statements: 1) all birds are dinosaurs; 2) all sauropods (“Brontosaurus” and allies) are dinosaurs; 3) birds and sauropods are different types of dinosaurs. This is the same as saying that all pies are pastries but that not all pastries are pies: tarts, muffins, cakes, etc., are non-pie pastries. (Or that all protagonists are POV characters, but not all POV characters are protagonists.) Anyway, if you look up the term “non-avian dinosaurs,” then you will find that it’s a commonly used one.

      We do, however, all have an inner fish. If you have not seen Neil Shubin’s excellent program “Your Inner Fish” (http://www.pbs.org/your-inner-fish/about/neil-shubin/), then I highly recommend it! (Neil is a pretty cool guy, and I actually was on the dissertation committees of a couple of his “guest stars” back in my Chicago days, so there is a professional equivalent of “parental pride” involved.) These sorts of concepts come about there.

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    203. How do you measure the success of a series, by audiences?? Well, even if it’s a very bad season the overall audiences will continue to rise, just like it happened with The Walking Dead. When a show is so big as GOT, it’s just too big to fail, people will watch it, because all their friends do it. They will watch it even if they all hate it.

      From an artistic quality perspective? I think S5 will be a failure. I agree that books 4 and 5 have problems, but merged together, cutting out the fat they would have made amazing television. D&D decided that they weren’t good enough so most of the arcs will be changed. What stories will remain the same? Cersei, Aria and that’s probably it. Wrap your mind around that…. I’m not talking about some minor or medium changes, but from all the hints we’ve got, the other stories will be completely changed (yeah, even Daenerys). So, what are the chances that D&D&Cogman made in 3-4 months material that’s just as good as what GRRM did in a decade?? Unlike some book purists I think they are great writers, but in such a short time it’s simply impossible. I hope I’m wrong

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    204. vlad: I agree that books 4 and 5 have problems, but merged together, cutting out the fat they would have made amazing television. D&D decided that they weren’t good enough so most of the arcs will be changed.

      One way to cut the fat includes merging plot lines. That is, you can tell two characters’ stories in the same plot line instead of separate ones: and that seems to be what they are doing. At any rate, I expect that each character will be doing the same thing as they did in the book: trying to prove to him/herself or to the world that they are someone other than who they had seemed or been seen to be.

      vlad: So, what are the chances that D&D&Cogman made in 3-4 months material that’s just as good as what GRRM did in a decade??

      I would say nonexistent in two ways. One, they didn’t make it: they adapted it from GRRM’s stuff. Two, as you note, much of this is basically editing: and editing a sloppy presentation of a good tale is much, much easier than coming up with a good tale on your own.

      I am in the “wait and see” camp. I thought that Crows was an awful book because I thought that it was very poorly put together. I thought that Dragons was back on track, but it still had some flab. I see a lot of potential in this, but I also realize that this is a case where there trees actually hurting the forest: and I’m hoping that they’ve hewn correctly!

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    205. vlad:
      So, what are the chances that D&D&Cogman made in 3-4 months material that’s just as good as what GRRM did in a decade??

      Dude, anything D&D and Cogman made in 3-4 months will be superior to the stuff GRRM made in more than a decade.

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    206. If the season is NOTHING like the trailer, maybe I will be happy. To me everything about the trailer was awful, from the music choice to the cringy Dany lines and the absolute lack of characters that I actually like appearing.

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    207. Wimsey,

      Ok, simple test. If you saw a thrush or something in the garden would you say “look at that dinosaur” or “look at that bird” ?. Would you call another human being an ape? (unless you were trying to insult them). They are different things.
      Scientists themselves don’t fully agree on birds descending from dinosaurs ( a lot think they evolved parrallel to them) and the fact they’re classified as different classes of Amniote ( Aves and Dinosauria) is a clear indicator that they are not the same thing. Again, both are Amniote so do we just call them all that? No, to specify what we mean we use more accurate descriptions. They may or may not have descended from dinosaurs but they are not dinosauria anymore. Would you call an American British? Or perhaps a Brit German (or anything really as we are quite the mongrels!)? Nope, because it’s an outdated classification no longer fit for purpose.
      Also, Brontosaurus isn’t a dinosaur anymore (they discovered it was actually an Apatosaurus with the head of a Camarasaurus). But, because it used to be a dinosaur do we still consider it a dinosaur?! 😛

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    208. Xanth,

      Which characters do you like? Because the trailer (just as the show probably will) mostly focuses on the characters we’ve known for 4 seasons / 3 books…. if you’re not interested in them at all, how did you reach this point in the show or the books?

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    209. TheTouchOfFrost,

      Yeah, the Brontosaurus thing was total bullshit. Just rename the Apatosaurus. Brontosaurus is a much cooler name. When I found out about it, my inner child was crushed. Much like the demotion of Pluto or finding out that Dimetrodons weren’t dinosaurs because of an earbone technicality.

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    210. Cumsprite,

      Apparently some scientists are saying Pluto is a planet again. Science teachers around the world are getting steadily more pissed off that they may have to order another new set of text books!
      Being from Nottingham and as a kid, finding out Robin Hood was a folklore legend and may not be a legit person cut real deep!

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    211. [something to make next season potentially suck a little less. Now all I need is confirmation on euron and the ironborn being given the dorne treatment in season 6. from michelle fairley’s imdb page: Game of Thrones (TV Series)
      Catelyn Stark / Hooded Woman
      – Episode #5.10 (2015) … Hooded Woman /]

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    212. Luka Nieto,

      Most of the characters I like are dead, that being said, characters I like alive are Bran, Stannis, Sam, Brienne, all the greyjoys (especially theon/reek), Roose, Davos, Manderly.
      Don’t get me wrong I like Tyrion and Jaime (more in the books) but I don’t think the focus should be on them. I can stand Dany in the books even though she isn’t my favorite but I absolutely hate her in the show, Emilia Clarke just makes the role so unnecessarily cheesy.

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    213. Cumsprite:
      TheTouchOfFrost,

      When I found out about it, my inner child was crushed. Much like the demotion of Pluto

      I still lament the demotion of Pluto. 🙁

      TheTouchOfFrost:
      Cumsprite,

      Apparently some scientists are saying Pluto is a planet again.

      So, you’re telling me there’s a chance!?! 🙂

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